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– Digital threats concern us all

Press Release   •   Aug 18, 2017 08:03 BST

(Fornebu, 17. August 2017) A new report from Telenor Norway highlights the risks and challenges facing Norway due to advanced attackers using cyberspace. – Cybersecurity has become something that affects everyone, and we want to help to ensure that we are all more open about what we are protecting our network against, said Berit Svendsen.

Norway is one of the most digitalised countries in the world, for better or for worse. Our authorities, most important social functions and each one of us rely on digital services.

– Cybersecurity has become something that affects everyone, and we want to help to ensure that we are all more open about what we are protecting our network against, said Berit Svendsen, CEO of Telenor Norway.

- As the owner and administrator of Norway’s most important digital infrastructure, we need to be particularly aware of the threats and challenges that can and will affect our digital security, said Berit Svendsen, CEO of Telenor Norway.

Around 80 per cent of the country’s data traffic passes through Telenor Norway’s network. Almost every day, Telenor’s security teams have to handle attempted attacks from government agencies, contractors, organised crime and politically motivated hackers.

For the first time, Telenor Norway has published a report about what we are protecting our network against and how we are handling cyberattacks, and it also provides specialist advice on how to improve the security level of public functions and protect against the latest digital threats.

- The benefits of digitalising social functions are enormous, but we must also understand the potential consequences of moving more and more critical social and financial assets into the digital world. Increasingly sophisticated attackers are attempting to gain unauthorised access to systems and information, said Berit Svendsen, CEO of Telenor Norway.

Seven out of ten are worried

In parallel with the report, research company Kantar conducted a national survey on people’s perceptions of digital security. The answers showed that sevenout of ten people are worried that critical Norwegian public functions could be knocked out by cyberattacks, while more than one in three say that they are worried that the Norwegian election campaign will be manipulated via cyberspace.

- These are figures that provide an excellent illustration of the situation we are in. We are facing attackers who could have an enormous effect on our society. This has been demonstrated through attacks like the interference operations that affected the American presidential election, and the cyberattacks that knocked out parts of the electrical grid in Ukraine, said Hanne Tangen Nilsen, Chief Security Officer of Telenor Norway.

Joining forces

June 2017 saw the publication of Report to the Storting no. 38 on ICT security, entitled ‘A shared responsibility’.

- It is an excellent principle, but if we are to share the responsibility, we must share the same understanding of the situation, and have the same ability to handle incidents. We cannot defend cyberspace in sectors. And we cannot do it without the help of private companies, said Tangen Nilsen.

Norwegian authorities primarily define IT security as being the responsibility of the operators. In a new report, Chief Security Officer Tangen Nilsen calls for three measures to improve the way in which the authorities handle serious digital incidents:

- We need clear leadership, we need to share what we know about situations and we need the public and private sectors to work together more closely. These threats do not stop at borders, meaning that the people dealing with them must also work across dividing lines; they must hold high-quality test exercises in quiet periods, and they must have a common approach towards the actual threats that we are facing. And we have some way to go here before we can be sure that the various resources will actually be able to find each other in a situation when they really need to, she said.

We must make it difficult

Over the last few years, Telenor has been investing heavily in building up its security facilities in order to ensure that the company’s infrastructure and the digital services it provides are well protected. It now has a specialist team of more than 50 experts from a range of security backgrounds. This team sees security in cyberspace being challenged by sophisticated attackers every day.

- We are now seeing bigger movements, more professional and better-organised cybercriminals in cyberspace. There are now numerous cyberattackers who have access to more advanced tools and methods, as we would expect given the increase in assets that are available digitally, explained Tangen Nilsen.

Every year, Telenor Norway’s security teams tackle thousands of serious incidents that have the potential to cause damage.

- The frequency of attacks comes in waves, but the incidents we have had to deal with recently have been more serious than they used to be. Our security strategy is clear: we must make it difficult for any attacker to operate in our infrastructure or against our services, she said.

Survey findings

• More than one in three (36 per cent) say that they are either very worried or somewhat worried that the Norwegian election campaign will be manipulated via cyberspace.

• Four out of ten said that someone had tried to trick them into revealing private information, while eight per cent said that someone had tried to trick them into revealing work-related information.

• More than six out of ten think that it is difficult to protect themselves against the various types of fraud and digital crime.

• The people who responded to the survey have an average of six connected devices in their household. If we use the figures from Statistics Norway as a basis, this gives us a rough estimate of at least 14 million connected devices in Norwegian households.

For more information, please contact:
Caroline Lunde, Information Manager Telenor Norway, Telephone 00 47 971 55 855, email:

Telenor Norway is Norway’s largest digital service provider in the field of telecommunications and data services. We spend every day working at the forefront of the digitalisation of Norway. Our 3900 employees are based at our 24 offices across Norway, and we are part of the Telenor Group, which operates in 13 countries. Our services and products help to improve productivity and provide access to all digital content. Our security and preparedness organisation works around the clock to keep our customers safe, and we are particularly focused on our social responsibility to provide security and safety for children and young people online. Our head office is located at Fornebu in Bærum. 

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