The Norwegian Government proposes allocating a further NOK 200 million to increase digital security in 2022

Russia’s attack on Ukraine has created a new security policy situation, which also means that digital attacks against Norway have become more likely. ‘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 Minister of Justice and Public Security Emilie Enger Mehl.

Russia has employed an extensive range of military and non-military instruments during the winter.

‘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,’ continues Ms Mehl.

Serious consequences

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.

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.

Making municipalities more resilient

Norwegian municipalities are attractive targets for digital attacks, and the inhabitants would be badly affected if power or water supply, or IT systems, are interrupted. This is why the Norwegian Government will strengthen digital security in the municipalities. It is proposed that NOK 50 million is allocated to allow the municipalities to avail themselves of cyber security expertise (e.g. a response team), and to establish a scheme to increase the municipalities’ competence and capacity to prevent and handle digital incidents. The purpose of this measure is to increase the municipalities’ ability to detect, prevent and handle digital attacks.

– It is important that municipalities that do not have access to the necessary capacity for notification and handling of digital attacks get an opportunity for this as soon as possible, says Minister of Local Government and Regional Development Bjørn Aril Gram (Cent.)

The Norwegian Government also proposes increasing the allocation to the Norwegian Center for Information Security (NorSIS), improving systems for communication and interaction in connection with national crisis management efforts, establishing support tools for enterprises, establishing a single digital security portal for the authorities, developing and securing the Norwegian Police Security Service’s IT systems, and implementing measures to speed up the security clearance process by the Norwegian Civil Security Clearance Authority.

Some of the measures covered by the NOK 200 million allocation:

  • NOK 15 million to strengthen NSM’s ability to coordinate and handle cyber attacks in the private, public, and municipal sectors.
  • NOK 40 million to strengthen NSM, to increase the number of public and private enterprises that instal digital intruder alert systems from NSM designed to detect cyber attacks.
  • NOK 50 million to strengthen the municipal sector’s capacity to handle unwanted ICT events, by having the Norwegian Government provide the municipalities with funding to collaborate with cyber security expertise (e.g. Computer Emergency Response Team - CERT). The measure will increase the municipalities’ ability to detect, prevent, and handle digital attacks.
  • NOK 10 million 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 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.