Foreign espionage of top technology companies is an escalating threat to Finland’s economy, according to the Nordic nation’s counter-intelligence agency.
“High-level technological research and its applications already in production are constant targets for intelligence gathering,” the Finnish Security Intelligence Service in Helsinki said in its annual report today. “The resulting damages may be severe and have a significant impact on the competitiveness of our national economy.”
Cyber espionage against companies gained renewed attention last week when network security firm Mandiant Corp. reported that the Chinese army may be behind a hacking group that has attacked at least 141 companies worldwide since 2006. China’s Foreign Ministry said Feb. 19 the country opposes computer hacking and that it is a victim of attacks. The U.S. is the biggest attacker of China’s Internet, said Hong Lei, a spokesman for the ministry.
Illegal information gathering was observed at about 12 percent of Finnish companies, and 16 percent suspected it had happened in 2009 to 2011, according to a survey by the Helsinki- based agency. Energy and chemical industries were targets of “particular interest” last year, it said.
The Finnish government approved a national cybersecurity strategy on Jan. 24 to help the military and companies operating critical infrastructure counter threats.
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