Cyber ​​threat from China and Russia is growing: security services are raising the alarm

The security services argue with the Financieel Dagblad for more budget to be able to deal with the ‘imminent threat’. Every day, the services catch hackers from China and Russia. They target the computers of companies, universities and even the vital infrastructure of our country, such as drinking water supplies, banks, telecom and energy networks.

Arms race

“A new arms race is underway. It does not fit naivety. The national earning capacity is threatened,” said director general Erik Akerboom of the civil intelligence service AIVD against the FD. According to Akerboom, ‘all crown jewels’ of the Dutch economy are at risk. “They want it, they can do it and they do it,” says MIVD director Jan Swillens to the FD.

The AIVD now has a budget of 308 million euros, which was recently increased. Still, more money is needed for additional hackers and ICT systems. The budgets of the other security services are not public.

‘Chinese threat underestimated’

Major targets, and the ‘crown jewels’ that Akerboom speaks of, include companies in the maritime sector, aerospace, artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum technology.

Entrepreneurs and universities mainly underestimate the Chinese threat, says the AIVD director. According to Akerboom, the country has an ‘order list of technology that they want to collect in the world’. This can happen with investments, or via cyber theft. According to the CEO, such foreign investments must also be assessed ‘from the perspective of national security’. Akerboom does not mention concrete examples of such investments.

Companies are complaining about one-way traffic

Although the security services argue for more consultation with companies, these companies currently mainly experience one-way traffic. Communication is flawed and entrepreneurs mainly have to supply data without getting anything in return, says Michiel Steltman of the data center umbrella in the FD. The services recognize these problems and promise to improve with new communication plans.


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