PSTs National Threat Assessment 2020 is now also available in English.
The most serious threats to Norwegian security are:
– foreign intelligence targeted at the government, the Storting (the Norwegian parliament) and the Armed Forces
– digital reconnaissance and sabotage of critical infrastructure
– terrorist attacks carried out by individuals motivated by right-wing extremism or extreme Islamist ideolog
An increasing proportion of the activities that threaten critical national interests is taking place in cyberspace, and this affects the threats in all PST’s areas of responsibility.
A digital society, with its dependence on electronic communication, is highly vulnerable to espionage, data manipulation and sabotage. Computer network exploitation 1) by a hostile actor can be highly damaging to a state’s economy, security and political system.
Extremists make extensive use of the internet as an avenue of communication, in their own country and often at a transnational level, and digital communication will continue to be an important arena for propaganda and incitement to terrorism. Much of the current radicalisation and preaching of violence is done via social media, since this arena provides anonymity and opportunities for propaganda and discussion between like-minded individuals. This type of communication is frequently encrypted and takes place in closed forums.
Many dignitaries, including local politicians, are targets for hate speech, harassment and threats, which are mainly delivered online. This abuse strikes at democracy by making individuals reluctant to run for election or to participate actively in the public debate.
These cyber threats have the potential to cause enormous damage. The activity affects key social institutions and individuals’ jobs and lives, and can interfere with the exercise of democracy.