In light of the war in Ukraine and the growing threat from state-sponsored cyber attacks from Russia, Norway has increased its digital defence spending to strenghten its critical IT infrastructure.
The Norwegian government has approved NOK200m (€21m) in additional funding to reinforce the country’s national security against digital threats. In separate allocations, the government released special funding to boost the cyber defence capabilities of the Norwegian Defence Forces (NDF) and state national security organisations with national cyber defence roles. Projects to help local government organisations secure their IT systems against cyber attack feature prominently within the scope of the new spending plan framework.
An angry Russia
The elevated threat level, which follows an uptick in cyber attacks and updated security situational assessments, is linked to Norway’s military and trade support for Ukraine. Norway has supplied the Ukrainian Army with weapons systems, which has angered Russia.
"We must strengthen civil emergency preparedness against cyber attacks, and the Norwegian Government therefore proposes allocating a further NOK 200 million to increase digital security in 2022," says Emilie Enger Mehl, Minister of Justice and Public Security. "The Norwegian Government will act quickly to strengthen its efforts to combat digital attacks. This will increase digital security in prevention, detection, and handling at the local, regional, and national levels."
Strengthening NSM’s ability to combat digital attacks
The National Security Authority (NSM) is the national service which responds to serious digital attacks and operates a national alert system for digital infrastructure (intruder alerts). Its purpose is to prevent, detect, and coordinate the handling of serious digital attacks. Since 2019, NSM has seen the number of data attacks with serious consequences for enterprises in Norway tripled.
Some of the measures covered by the allocation:
The Norwegian Government will allocate NOK 15 million to strengthen NSM’s ability to combat digital attacks, as well as NOK 40 million so that more organisations introduce digital intruder alerts which send notifications to NSM.
NOK 50 million is allocated to allow the municipalities to avail themselves of cyber security expertise and to establish a scheme to increase the municipalities’ competence and capacity to prevent and handle digital incidents. Another NOK 10 million goes to increase digital resilience in society by developing digital tools for enterprises to evaluate the security of their systems, a single digital security portal for the authorities to be used by citizens, enterprises, and municipalities, and information campaigns to raise awareness among citizens and enterprises. NOK 5 million will be to increase the allocation to the Norwegian Civil Security Clearance Authority to reduce the risk of having insiders who are in the service of foreign intelligence.