Denmark rearms in the fight against digital threats.
The threat from hackers and cybercriminals to citizens, businesses and authorities has moved very close, and digital attacks are becoming more and more advanced.
Denmark is a front runner in digital development. However, the increased digitization makes us more vulnerable to digital threats and makes demands to the effect that we must be able to protect ourselves sufficiently. A high level of cyber security will continue to matter to the growth, welfare and wealth of Denmark and the safety and trust in the public authorities in a digitized age.
The cyber threat has become a basic term for Danish businesses and public authorities, and must be taken very seriously. Businesses and public authorities are exposed against cyber-attacks from hackers who try to steal research, businesses plans and innovative ideas that we are relaying on for our future. The continued development and digitization of society is continuously giving hackers opportunities to harm Denmark. This is why it is important, that Denmark rearms in the fight against digital threats, so that Danes can feel safe – even in cyberspace.
The Danish Defence Intelligence Service (DDIS) assesses that there is a very high cyber threat against Denmark, especially from cyber espionage, but also from cyber crime. In addition, there is a potential threat from foreign states using cyber attacks in the attempt to try to influence the opinion formation in other countries.
The purpose of the Centre for Cyber Security within the Danish Defence Intelligence Service is to support a high information security level compared to social important functions:
Moreover, other authorities also handle tasks in this field. For instance, the National Cyber Crime Centre of the Danish National Police investigates crimes, whereas a number of other tasks regarding digitization and information security lie with e.g. the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs.
Since 2016, Denmark has contributed to NATO’s defence in cyber space and is now preparing to be able to contribute to NATO by means of the effects from the offensive part of the capacity as well. Thus, by means of cyber weapons, Denmark can deliver an effective strike against a target in NATO's operational areas. In connection with the use of offensive cyber capacity in an international operation, the capacity will be subordinated to the Chief of Defence like any other military capacity. When the capacity is not used to support military operations, it will be available for the The Danish Defence Intelligence Service (DDIS). The use of the cyber capacity provides a strengthening of the intelligence service’ capacity to gather intel about the different actors in cyberspace and thereby the ability to increase the safety of Danish citizens.
Through the defence agreement 2018-2023 a political majority decided to strengthen Denmark’s cyber defence considerably by means of an addition of 500 million DKK. This is done i.a. by improved protection against sophisticated cyber attacks through an expansion of the sensor network of the Centre of Cyber Security to authorities and companies and through the establishing of a day-and-night manned national cyber situation centre in which a national situational picture can be made, showing current and potential threats against Denmark’s most important digital networks. Being the national IT security authority, the Centre for Cyber Security is, at the same time, going to have its capacity for advising and supporting private companies and authorities strengthened.
The defence agreement also made the cyber conscription a permanent part of the strengthening of education and research for the cyber area.
Denmark has a national strategy for cyber and information security, that is to increase the technical robustness and increase protection of the state’s critical it-systems. The strategy will also increase knowledge of citizens, businesses and public authorities and strengthen national coordination and cooperation regardring information security. The digitization and general openness in society makes Denmark an attractive target, which is why a targeted strategy is necessary to make us of the right efforts when it comes to cyber security.
The strategy launches 34 initiatives, which are to protect our digital infrastructure and it-systems better while at the same time strengthening Denmark’s participation in the international fight against the cyber threat. With the strategy, the government sets out four strategic objectives that frames the development of a stronger and more secure digital Denmark. The four obejctives are: 1) Robust protection of vital societal functions 2) Increased level of skills and management commitment 3) Strengthening of the cooperation between the public and private sector and 4) Active participation in the international fight against the cyber threat.
Denmark wish to be a strong partner – also when it comes to the defence in cyberspace. Since 2016, Denmark has been a part of NATO’s defence in cyberspace and since 2019 Denmark has been able to contribute to NATO’s operations both defensively and offensively. A contribution with offensive cyber effects to NATO requires approval by the Danish parliament. The offensive cyber capacity can be inserted against targets in a NATO area from facilities in Denmark, but the act itself is coordinated and done within the framework of NATO.
It is not only within the frame of NATO that Denmark co-operates with other countries. In EU there is also a close co-operation regarding cyber security. With the termination of the defence opt-out in 2021 following the referendum, Denmark can participate equally with other member states, in EU’s military co-operation, including cyber efforts. Among other things, a diplomatic toolbox has been adopted, with one of the tools being the opportunity to impose common sanctions against those that attack EU-countries in cyber space. When it comes to technologies such as 5G, AI, and certificates for digital products and services Denmark contributes to making common policies with better cyber security included already from the beginning. Furthermore, there is a close Nordic co-operation regarding cyber security, just as there is a co-operation within OSCE.
The Centre’s mission is to advise Danish public authorities and private companies that support functions vital to society on how to prevent, counter and protect against cyberattacks.