Annual Threat Assessment 2019

06. FEB 2019 PST Trusselvurdering

In this annual open threat assessment, we present the most likely developments of the threat picture. We hope the readers of this assessment evaluate to which extent its content could have implications on their own activities and business, in view of the values they administer. By this threat assessment, which has become an essential part of our public communication, we aim at improving the understanding of the threats we are facing and at reducing existing vulnerabilities. 

The present threat situation is characterised by stable and relatively lasting trends and developments. We know, however, that an unexpected incident or episode could have a significant and often unpredictable influence on society. An assessment of the future will therefore always be uncertain.

SUMMARY

STATE INTELLIGENCE ACTIVITY

  • The work aimed at recruiting and running secret sources in Norwegian enterprises is a prioritised task for several foreign intelligence services. This work will be pursued in 2019. 
  • Government-run computer network operations represent a persistent threat to Norwegian values. Such operations are cheap, efficient and constantly evolving, and the attackers incessantly find new vulnerabilities to exploit. 
  • In addition to actors within the Norwegian defence and emergency preparedness sector, enterprises within Norwegian politics and government administration are particularly exposed to collection operations and foreign intelligence services’ and other attempts of exerting influence. 

POLITICALLY MOTIVATED VIOLENCE

  • Extreme Islamist groups will still represent the most serious terrorist threat in 2019. We consider it possible that extreme Islamists will try to carry out a terrorist attack in Norway. However, the number of new individuals who become radicalised and join these groups will continue to be small. 
  • Norwegian right-wing extremists are unlikely to try to carry out a terrorist attack in 2019, as they remain focused on radicalisation and organisation building. The fact that certain anti-immigration and anti-Islamic groups seem to increase their presence on the Norwegian right-wing extremist scene, will nevertheless represent a particular challenge this year. 
  • Norwegian left-wing extremists are considered highly unlikely to try to carry out terrorist acts in 2019. We do expect, however, the significant increase in politically motivated violence against those they define as opponents to continue.

THREATS AGAINST DIGNITARIES

  • Even if dignitaries are frequently exposed to threats, we expect the threshold for attacking dignitaries to remain high.
You can read the Annual Threat Assessment 2019 by clicking on one of the two links below: 

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STATE INTELLIGENCE ACTIVITY

In 2019, foreign intelligence services will try to recruit sources and identify individuals and enterprises in Norway. They will also try to obtain illegal access to Norwegian companies’ computer networks. Their aim is to acquire sensitive information and to influence decisions. The operations of these services will be aimed at individuals and enterprises within Norwegian government administration, critical infrastructure, defence and preparedness and at research and development.

The Russian security and intelligence services represent the major challenges. However, services from other countries, such as China, will also carry out intelligence operations against targets and activities in Norway. If these operations succeed, they may inflict serious damage on Norway and Norwegian interests. 

NETWORK OPERATIONS

Government-run network operations [1] represent a persistent threat to Norwegian values. The methods are cheap, efficient and constantly evolving, and the attackers incessantly find new vulnerabilities to exploit.

The most usual way of getting on the inside of a network, is to send malware via targeted e-mails. These messages are often tailored to the recipient. By appealing to a professional or personal interest and being linked to known senders, the messages appear legitimate to the recipient. We have also experienced that threat actors have broken into computer networks by making employees or guests introduce malware, deliberately or not, for instance via memory sticks. Threat actors also use servers connected to Internet as a gate of entry. These are exposed to exploitation. Threat actors have for instance on several occasions gained access to a network via the systems in use to publish information on the company’s web page. 

In many cases, quite simple measures such as regular change of passwords, two-factor authentication and updated software would be sufficient to prevent attempts of penetration. It is also important for all companies to have a good overview of which servers that are endpoints towards Internet, to make sure they are updated and to log the activity in the network well enough to detect irregularities. 

Quite a few of the attempts of penetrating Norwegian networks are made to reconnoitre and identify vulnerabilities and to collect information. We also see sophisticated operations against enterprises that are not actual targets but merely act as bridgeheads for further access to other targets. 

Enterprises within Norwegian government administration, critical infrastructure, Norwegian trade and industry, and Norwegian technology companies are exposed intelligence targets and have to protect their data and have a good overview of their own network structure. This especially applies to the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and their partners within foreign aid and research. Within other areas of the research sector, defence and space technology enterprises, maritime technology, renewable energy and medical research are particularly exposed to attempts of penetration. Actors within the petroleum and energy sector also have to take into account that they will be targeted by advanced network operations in 2019.

RECRUITMENT OF INDIVIDUALS

Certain foreign intelligence services aim at recruiting and running secret sources in Norway. This work will be pursued in 2019. Individuals with both direct and indirect access to sensitive information will be subject to such recruitment attempts. This means that intelligence officers operating in Norway contact individuals who do not have access to the information the officers are looking for, but who are part of a network of relevant individuals. We also see that they contact young people whom they assume will gain influence and access to information in the future. 

Foreign states use considerable resources on this type of cultivation. The intelligence operations are methodical and the cultivation of potential sources can go on for many years. 

Various kinds of open seminars and conferences on politics and trade and industry are important arenas used to identify and subsequently make contact with potential sources. Under cover of working at an embassy or trade institution, the intelligence personnel 

contact the person they want to recruit. Then they gradually try to establish a professional and friendly relation and identify the potential source’s access and which network he/-she is part of. In the longer term they want to establish a dependent relationship where the source is rewarded or feels pressured or obliged to carry out assignments for the intelligence officer. 

In addition to making contact at open events, we also expect to see intelligence services approaching potential sources through social media. For an intelligence officer, under cover of another position, it is a normal procedure to make contact and establish a relation via a professional online forum. The relationship will develop over time. The target may be invited to meetings and seminars and be asked to prepare written reports, articles or chronicles against payment. The cooperation will, however, be monitored by the foreign intelligence service, either to influence Norwegian opinions and decisions or to get access to sensitive information. 

Norwegian citizens living in countries with an authoritarian form of government may also in 2019 be attempted lured or pressured by the intelligence services of these countries into carrying out tasks for them. This also applies to foreign citizens who have a legal residence and work permit in Norway. The intelligence services often act far more directly and threatening when trying to recruit citizens of their own country than when attempting to recruit Norwegian citizens. Some of the services have for instance threatened their own citizens both directly and indirectly with repercussions on their relatives at home, if they refuse to cooperate. 

INFLUENCE

Many public and private actors in Norway make decisions that have consequences for the interests of other countries. Several of the services operating in Norway are tasked to influence such decisions, and this is likely to continue in 2019. 

In certain Western countries, foreign intelligence services have worked systematically and in a long term perspective to weaken the inhabitants’ confidence in their own democratic institutions and processes. Intelligence services have been involved in spreading disinformation, initiating smearing campaigns via social media, and in spreading rumours or half-truths. This activity can also be aimed at concrete enterprises or individuals, to influence the outcome of individual cases.

It is often difficult to prove who is responsible for information operations, or even to prove that there is or has been an information operation at all. So far, we have not seen any clear indications of covert information operations in or against Norway. We should, nevertheless, be prepared that foreign states may try to influence the general public and the political agenda in individual cases even in Norway. 

Within most political areas we have the same interests and objectives as many other countries. This makes us less vulnerable to external influence. In some areas, however, certain countries do not share our views and priorities. Within these fields, political assessments will be more exposed to other countries’ influence operations. Norwegian policy in the High North is one example. Here we have conflicting interests with certain countries that could influence the intelligence threat aimed at Norway and Norwegian interests. This is also true for Norwegian authorities’ handling of questions of adherence to various sanction regimes, and the debate on our relation to other countries and our potential criticism of these countries.

Within most political areas, Norway has the same interests and objectives as many other countries. This makes us less vulnerable to external influence

IDENTIFICATION AND SURVEILLANCE

Foreign intelligence services will carry out operations to identify Norwegian targets also in 2019. Such identification serves different purposes. It could be aimed at individuals to prepare for subsequent cultivation and possible recruitment. Identification of individuals could also be made to prepare for computer network operations. Many of the network attacks targeting Norwegian companies are carried out to reveal the infrastructure and vulnerabilities of the networks. These operations also include the employees’ 

e-mail addresses, user profiles on social media and their role and function in these companies. 

Moreover, foreign intelligence services will continue their identification operations to reveal functions and vulnerabilities within Norwegian critical infrastructure, crisis management and security and preparedness. Some intelligence services seem to have a continuous need for updated information about military installations, material, departments and infrastructure. 

Much of the identification of defence and emergency preparedness targets in Norway will be carried out by use of technical surveillance. At the same time, the services will still use intelligence personnel to observe and document circumstances in and near military installations etc. The intelligence personnel will carry out such assignments under cover of various positions, but are mostly able to travel freely in Norway, without having to provide any other explanation than that they are tourists. We also see that the services use civilians with no apparent affiliation with the country the service represents, for certain identification purposes. 

Several authoritarian regimes use their intelligence services to identify and conduct surveillance of refugees and dissidents staying in Norway. In most cases, the surveillance is a passive registration of the activity of political opponents. Some will nevertheless experience that the domestic regime threatens either them or their family in the home country, if they do not cease their political activity. 

When foreign intelligence services identify regime opponents in Norway, they often use agents to infiltrate the diaspora. Others recruit sources among the opponents of the regime. Intelligence services that actively approach refugee milieus in Norway, will also try to establish contact with individuals working in the immigration administration to get access to relevant registers and databases. 

ECONOMIC MEASURES

Norway has a small and open economy and much of the business activity is influenced by foreign conditions and actors. Foreign actors invest in Norwegian enterprises, enter into financing or licensing agreements or long-term agreements about production and cooperation. Such foreign engagement is usually both wanted and legal in Norway. It is also unproblematic in a security perspective, as long as the enterprises solely intend to conduct business. 

At the same time, experience from other Western countries shows that certain states also use economic measures for other purposes than business. Several states use investments and purchases as a means to influence political decisions, collect sensitive information and get access to technology or natural resources of strategic significance. We have registered such use of economic measures in Norway in the past and expect it to occur also in 2019.

To identify and counter unwanted activity, it is essential to see a country’s total economic engagement in Norway over time. Every single investment, purchase or financing of research and development projects is often unproblematic in itself. However, the overall scale of it could make states with which we have no security policy cooperation, gain power to influence Norwegian society, trade and industry and political decisions. Such use of power can have many effects. Norwegian bureaucrats and politicians, centrally or locally, could restrain their own decisions and statements for fear of negative consequences for cooperation agreements and for the trade and industry. Social commentators or researchers could also feel compelled to reduce their criticism following direct or indirect threats to withdraw the financing of certain projects. 

In other cases, the purpose is not necessarily to exert influence, but to obtain a position that enables collection of sensitive information. By purchasing shares in certain Norwegian enterprises, foreign actors could get insight into decision processes, preparedness plans or critical infrastructure. Foreign actors may also want to purchase strategically placed properties, which can be used for covert intelligence activity against Norwegian and allied military activity. 

Economic measures can also be efficient when the aim is to get access to sensitive information or technology, which has been difficult for a state to acquire by means of regular intelligence operations. Companies that develop high technology for use in weapon programmes or in other industries of strategic importance are particularly exposed, and we expect foreign actors to make attempts to purchase such companies. 

ILLEGAL PROCUREMENT

In Norway we have goods, technology and knowledge that other states can use in their production of weapons of mass destruction. The export regulations are destined to prevent Norwegian suppliers from being subjected to illegal procurements. However, there have been many attempts to violate or circumvent these regulations, and new attempts will be made this year. Technology which can be used to develop and produce missiles will be particularly exposed. Norwegian civilian suppliers and research milieus working with underwater technology, composite material, steering technology and advanced testing and measuring equipment, should be particularly vigilant. 

Actors involved in illegal procurement use a long range of intermediaries in several countries to conceal themselves from the suppliers. Certain actors use very complicated company structures and supplier chains and send the goods via unusual routes. This makes the work of identifying and revealing this activity extremely challenging. 

Actors from several foreign countries will present a challenge in 2019. This applies especially to states with an active missile and nuclear weapon programme. We also see that the present technological development creates grey zones between what is and what is not subject to licence under the export control regulations. Several newly developed goods can be used to produce weapons, in addition to the purpose for which they were originally produced. This applies especially to industrial goods with very advanced specifications. 

We consider countries we are concerned about in terms of possible development of weapons of mass destruction, to be likely to place students and researchers in Norwegian educational institutions in 2019. Furthermore, these countries may try to recruit individuals who are already connected to institutions that have the knowledge they need. These individuals could either freely accept to become recruited or they, their family or friends could be pressured or threatened into becoming recruited.

POLITICALLY MOTIVATED VIOLENCE

Extreme Islamist groups will still represent the most serious terrorist threat in 2019. We consider it possible that extreme Islamists will try to carry out a terrorist attack in Norway. However, the number of new individuals who become radicalised and join these groups will continue to be small.

EXTREME ISLAMISM

The deterioration of the Islamic state (ISIL) has resulted in reduced radicalisation [2] activity and support of extreme Islamism in Norway. Nevertheless, certain extreme Islamists will regard Norway as a legitimate target for terrorist acts. We therefore consider it possible that extreme Islamists will try to carry out a terrorist attack, and this is assessed to represent the most serious terrorist threat to Norway this year. 

Extreme Islamism is strongly influenced by international incidents, and radicalisation and potential attack planning could increase as a result of incidents inside or outside of Norway. 

ISIL’S ABILITY TO INSPIRE HAS WEAKENED

ISIL’s power of influence on sympathisers in Europe in 2019 is likely to be strongly reduced compared to 2014-2017. One reason is ISIL’s loss of territories in Syria and Iraq. ISIL’s «caliphate», now dissolved, had a strong symbolic power and was decisive for the appeal of the terrorist organisation. In 2018, there was a significant reduction in the number of ISIL-inspired terrorist attacks in Europe compared to the precedent year.

ISIL’s military defeat will still weaken the terrorist organisation’s ability to produce propaganda aimed at radicalising and instigating terrorist attacks. Existing propaganda will however still be available, especially via 

encrypted channels on Internet. The propaganda was most effective combined with ISIL’s progress in Syria and Iraq, but is expected to remain a factor which could influence radicalisation and potential terrorist planning. 

Despite ISIL’s weakened ability to inspire, certain European countries still experience a considerable terrorist threat and a certain increase in the number of radicalised individuals. This particularly applies to countries which have a history of large extreme Islamist milieus, where old milieus and networks are still active. In 2019, many foreign fighters and other terrorist convicts will be released from prison in Europe. Several of them have operational experience from conflict areas, and many will still be radicalised. They are thus expected to have a negative impact on the threat picture in Europe in the coming years. 

Al-Qaida (AQ) still works towards the long-term objective of establishing an Islamist caliphate and uniting the global militant jihad movement. The terrorist organisation continues to include Western countries in its enemy image, but this year the organisation is likely to prioritise attacks in areas where it is already present.

Very few Norwegian Muslims are extreme Islamists, and the number of new radicalised individuals is expected to remain small in 2019 

THE TERRORIST THREAT POSED BY EXTREME ISLAMISTS IN NORWAY PERSISTS

Norway is included in the enemy image of both ISIL and AQ. There are however several other European countries that have a more prominent position in this image. Norway is thus not expected to be a prioritised target in the terrorist organisation’s propaganda or in potential plans for an attack commissioned by ISIL. 

Nevertheless, most extreme Islamists in Norway sympathise with the ideology of ISIL and AQ. They define all who deviate politically, ideologically or religiously from their interpretation of Islam as infidels and enemies. Some are filled with a strong hatred towards Norwegian society and perceive Norway as a legitimate target for a terrorist attack. It will therefore be a prioritised task for PST to uncover the activity of extreme Islamists preparing terrorist acts in Norway. 

There are also extreme Islamists in Norway who support terrorist organisations abroad and have a more national or regional focus. They are generally not very concerned about Norway and Norwegian conditions. Some of them have the capacity to use violence and can thus pose a terrorist threat to foreign interests, first and foremost in countries outside Norway. 

There are around 30 Norway-related foreign fighters left in Syria. Several of them have probably been killed, and very few are expected to return to Norway this year. The primary threat these individuals represent is their potential to encourage sympathisers in Norway to carry out terrorist attacks in our country. 

Despite a distinct decrease in the number of extreme Islamist terrorist attacks in Europe in 2018 compared to 2017, the way in which the attacks were carried out or were planned to be carried out, has not changed much. If extreme Islamists should carry out a terrorist act in Norway, it is unlikely to deviate much from the type of attacks we see elsewhere in Europe. 

A potential attempt of an extreme Islamist terrorist attack in Norway will most likely be made by one or two individuals. Places with few or no security measures and where many civilians gather, are most exposed. The aim will be to kill and injure as many as possible. Uniformed police and military personnel will be regarded as legitimate targets also in 2019. Possible attackers will probably intend to kill themselves in the terrorist attack. 

The most relevant means of attack for extreme Islamists trying to commit a terrorist act would be vehicles, pointed weapons, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) or firearms. Combinations of these means of attack may also occur. Use of chemical or biological means in an attempted attack in Norway is considered less likely than attacks by use of other means. 

LOW SUPPORT OF EXTREME ISLAMISM IN NORWAY

Very few Norwegian Muslims are extreme Islamists, and the number of new individuals who become radicalised is expected to remain low in 2019. An important reason is the absence of a mobilising cause, and the fact that there are few active radicalisers in Norway at present. Those who become radicalised are first and foremost deprived and vulnerable young men.

The milieus are small and will probably remain badly organised and not very visible. We therefore expect few demonstrations, gatherings or other types of activism from extreme Islamists in the public sphere in 2019. The lack 

of well organised milieus has a positive impact on the threat situation, because such milieus in the past have turned out to be important driving forces for radicalisation, recruitment and development of a will to carry out terrorist acts. 

There will still be certain radicalisers who operate independently, without any affiliation to an organised milieu. They will visit and take advantage of a number of arenas, including religious meeting places, asylum centres, prisons and Internet, to radicalise individuals into extreme Islamism. 

Foreign radicalisers are expected to contribute to radicalising certain individuals in Norway also this year. This can be done in different ways. Firstly, there are radicalisers abroad who preach extreme messages and offer instruction via Internet. Secondly, some foreign preachers will be invited to events in Norway to preach Islamist ideology containing certain extreme views. 

Some extreme Islamists in Norway are likely to organise fundraising campaigns this year. Their intention is to send the collected money both to Norway-related foreign fighters and to transnational terrorist organisations. 

Few, if any, are expected to join transnational terrorist organisations as foreign fighters this year. The last time PST registered an attempt of joining ISIL was in autumn 2017.

The radicalisation activity is stable and the likelihood of someone planning an extreme Islamist terrorist attack has remained unchanged this last year. The terrorist threat could nevertheless increase. However, this presupposes main issues with sufficient strength to mobilise the milieu. Such issues could start with international conflicts or incidents perceived as insults of Islam. Moreover, the radicalisers must have the ability to utilize single incidents and cases to mobilise the milieu. For those who become radicalised, a combination of the above factors and their personal situation and motivation is usually what makes them become extremists.

RIGHT-WING EXTREMISM

Norwegian right-wing extremists are unlikely to try to carry out any terrorist attack in 2019. Even if extensive spreading of anti-immigration and anti-Islamic propaganda on Internet continues, the threshold for carrying out terrorist acts will be high. Right-wing extremism in Norway is primarily characterised by radicalisation and organisation building. 

The extent of radicalisation and the likelihood of right-wing extremist violence and terrorist acts could, however, increase as a result of spontaneous and unpredictable incidents in Norway. 

A LASTING HATRED TOWARDS NORWEGIAN AUTHORITIES AND MINORITY GROUPS

Norwegian authorities have a key position in the enemy image of the right-wing extremists. They accuse the authorities of letting various minority groups destroy Norwegian way of life and culture. They believe that especially non-Western immigration and Islam, but also Jews and the LGBTs [3]  , represent an existential threat to Norwegian society. Various conspiracy theories form the basis of this enemy image. 

The right-wing extremist attitudes are expressed by a combination of hateful statements, threats and instigation to violence. A lot of propaganda that could contribute to new recruitments and to strengthen existing views is produced and distributed on the Internet.

In Europe 2017-2018, eight right-wing terrorist attacks were carried out and eleven were prevented

Several right-wing extremists in and around anti-immigration and anti-Islamic milieus as well as neo-Nazi milieus in Norway, have the capacity to carry out terrorist acts. In the present situation they are, however, unlikely to develop any intention of committing terrorist acts in 2019. This is among other things due to low immigration to Norway and a relatively open political debate about challenges in relation to immigration. Known right-wing extremists are mainly expected to be involved in radicalisation and organisation building.

In 2017-2018, there were eight completed and eleven prevented right-wing terrorist attacks in Europe. Most of them were aimed at Muslims, non-Western immigrants and politicians. The perpetrators behind many of the attacks were partly motivated by a desire to take vengeance for extreme Islamist terrorism. 

A potential right-wing extremist terrorist attack in Norway will most likely be aimed at symbolic targets, such as meeting places for Muslims and immigrants, or at political parties or politicians. The most relevant means of attack for right-wing extremist terrorism are IEDs, firearms and pointed weapons. The purpose of a potential attack would be to cause fear and spread a political message, not necessarily to kill and injure as many as possible. The perpetrators will most likely not have any intention of killing themselves in the attack.

BREEDING GROUND FOR GROWTH WITHIN ANTI-IMMIGRATION AND ANTI-ISLAMIC MILIEUS 

The Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM) is the most exposed right-wing extremist milieu in Norwegian media these last years. Their long term objective is to do away with democracy and establish a Nordic neo-Nazi state. This objective has very little support in Norwegian society. NRM is therefore not expected to grow in 2019. The organisation will be able to recruit a few individuals through their activities, but some are also believed to withdraw from the milieu in the course of this year.

NRM’s aim of abolishing democracy and establishing a new neo-Nazi state receives little support from Norwegian society. NRM is thus not expected to grow this year

Right-wing extremism in Norway also consists of a few smaller neo-Nazi milieus and milieus that are hostile to immigration and Islam. These milieus are characterised by a weak organisation and little cooperation. Their activity mainly takes place on open and closed websites. 

Certain anti-immigration and anti-Islamic milieus are, however, expected to take the initiative to become better organised in 2019. Right-wing extremist organisations in Europe, which have grown these last years, could thus provide a source of inspiration. Having full focus on the alleged threat posed by immigration and Islam, these milieus are assessed to have 

a higher potential than the neo-Nazi milieu to organise the non-organised right-wing extremists in Norway. 

Internet will continue to be the main arena for and source of spreading right-wing extremist propaganda. Certain web pages reach out to several thousand individuals, who are exposed to a right-wing extremist conspiratorial ideology, glorification of violence and hateful statements. Such content can often be found among regular news, humorous postings and other uncontroversial content. 

NRM’s activity and potential new anti-immigration and anti-Islamic initiatives will also include radicalisation activity at closed events, demonstrations in the public sphere and spreading of leaflets with an underlying right-wing extremist message. 

Most of those who become radicalised into right-wing extremism in 2019 are expected to be individuals who in many respects are living on the edge of society. Those who become radicalised are often men with little education, a loose affiliation with working life and a criminal background. Many of them have experienced difficulties in adjusting and many are struggling with mental problems. Drug abuse is also widespread among right-wing extremists in Norway. Both younger and older individuals become radicalised. The average age of right-wing extremists in Norway is higher than for extreme Islamists. 

A number of circumstances could potentially increase the scale of radicalisation and the likelihood of right-wing extremist acts of violence or terrorism. One trigger factor could for instance be terrorist acts and other particularly violent crimes carried out by individuals with a non-Western background. A considerable growth in the number of refugees and asylum applicants arriving in 

Norway could also have an impact on the threat posed by right-wing extremists. We also expect that increased resistance and use of violence from left-wing extremists could increase the will of certain right-wing extremists to use violence in 2019. 

LEFT-WING EXTREMISM

MORE ACTIVE AND VIOLENT LEFT-WING EXTREMIST GROUPS

Norwegian left-wing extremists are considered highly unlikely to try to carry out any terrorist acts in 2019. There are still few left-wing extremist groups in Norway. There has, however, been an increased recruitment to some of these groups this last year. The groups have also become more active and violent, causing a significant increase in their execution of politically motivated violence aimed at opponents. These trends are expected to continue in 2019. 

The most unifying issue that mobilise left-wing extremists is their opposition to individuals and organisations they define as right-wing extremist. Left-wing extremists are likely to continue to identify, harass and commit violent acts against right-wing extremists this year. Other issues that preoccupy left-wing extremists are anti-capitalism, resistance towards NATO, the Palestine conflict and the asylum and immigration policy. Controversial incidents linked to these cases could lead to demonstrations that may take a violent turn. 

Norwegian left-wing extremists are in contact with their counterparts in other European countries. This will represent a challenge in 2019. This contact makes Norwegian left-wing extremists get affiliated with milieus that have a far lower threshold for using violence against their opponents than we have seen in Norwegian milieus these last years. The contact with left-wing extremists in other European countries could also serve as a source of inspiration for use of violence against opponents in Norway.

THREATS AGAINST DIGNITARIES

Even if dignitaries are frequently exposed to threats, we expect the threshold for attacking dignitaries to remain high. Such activity could nevertheless have a negative impact on the political work. Investigations reveal that several dignitaries have refrained from expressing controversial points of view for fear of being exposed to threats.

UNCHANGED THREAT PICTURE

Also in 2019, individuals expressing themselves on social media will make threats, hateful statements and instigate the use of violence against dignitaries. Such statements are often made by frustrated individuals who are in a difficult life situation, but threats can also be made on the basis of ideological, political or religious motives. Such statements are often punishable. 

Even if threats are frequently made, the threshold for carrying out attacks against dignitaries is still expected to remain high. Such activity could nevertheless have a negative impact on the political work. 

Investigations reveal that several dignitaries have refrained from expressing controversial points of view for fear of being exposed to threats. Some have also considered quitting politics. This demonstrates that the threat activity is not only detrimental to the dignitary in question, but also represents a threat to vital parts of Norwegian democracy.

PST’S CATEGORISATION OF PROBABILITY LEVELS

In our assessment of politically motivated violence and threats against dignitaries we have devised a set of standardised terms to indicate estimated probability. The aim is to achieve a more uniform description of the probability level in each case and thereby reduce as much as possible any lack of clarity and the risk of misunderstandings. 

The following terms and definitions have been developed in a cooperation between the police, PST and the Norwegian Intelligence Service.

VERY LIKELY 

There is very good reason to believe

LIKELY 

There is reason to believe

POSSIBLE 

About as likely as not 

UNLIKELY 

There is little reason to believe 

VERY UNLIKELY

There is very little reason to believe

 

[1] By network operation, we understand a process whereby a threat actor tries to get illegal access to the computer network of a specific company. Network operations may have different purposes, such as collection of intelligence, preparations of possible sabotage or manipulation of data. By network attack, we understand a process whereby a threat actor tries to get illegal access to the computer network of a specific company, for the purpose of sabotaging or manipulating data.

[2] By radicalisation, we understand «a process whereby an individual gradually accepts or develops a will to actively support or take part in violent acts as a means of achieving political, religious or ideological aims».

[3] A lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person

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