An inventory of incidents and threats in 2015 by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) shows that professional criminals are increasingly focusing on the disruption of IT among governments, businesses and citizens Criminals acting on behalf of foreign governments and intelligence services are increasingly focusing on digital and economic espionage of Dutch governments and companies.
This is stated in the Cyber Security Beeld Nederland 2015 (CSBN) report, which was sent to the Second Chamber by State Secretary Klaas Dijkhoff (Security and Justice) on October 14, 2015.
Dijkhoff calls for a joint and European approach to cybercrime. He states that, during the Dutch EU Presidency, this joint approach to cyber crime will be placed on the European agenda in the first half of 2016.
Dijkhoff: ‘The CSBN shows that the trends signalled in the previous Cyber Security Beelden will continue in 2015. An approach in which public and private parties work together – nationally and internationally – to improve cyber security is therefore a necessity..’
According to Dijkhoff, one core task of companies should be to monitor their requirements with regards to digital protection. At the same time, as much information as possible should be shared about threats and, as companies know, a new reporting requirements for incidents will be introduced. The end of October 2015 will also see the launch of an annual campaign intended to inform citizens about the risks of cybercrime.
According to the report, the biggest threat remains professional criminals and criminals working for states. ‘Criminals continue to develop their digital skills. For example, the past year saw several digital attacks by criminals who were characterised by their excellent organisation, accurate execution and technical sophistication. In addition, there are several countries that are carrying out digital attacks on or through the infrastructure of Dutch organisations. The largest digital espionage threat comes from foreign intelligence services.’
According to NCSC, terrorists are currently still a minor threat, but their capacities are definitely growing. ‘Although the digital potential of terrorist parties is growing, they are not yet a major threat due to their limited technical capabilities. There are no indications of a concrete threat towards the Netherlands.
In the context of digital attacks by terrorists, the greatest threat currently comes from jihadism. Up until now, digital attacks in the Netherlands with jihadist motives were limited to small-scale attacks that required little manpower and knowledge.’
According to experts, conflicts, attacks and incidents often form the context for digital attacks. ‘Different parties often use intra and international conflicts, attacks and incidents as a motive for digital attacks. For example, over the past year, many digital attacks and cyber operations were identified that could be placed within a geopolitical context, such as malware attacks related to the conflict in Ukraine. These attacks are often very difficult to pin on specific parties. Both state parties and activist hackers with patriotic motives have the intentions and means to carry out these attacks’, according to experts.