Greenland Fears Russian Cyber Attacks


writer icon Tormod Birch     Filip Gielda   |   Tech     🕐 22. May. 2019

Interest in the Arctic is on the rise. Both the US and Russia have been taking actions to get closer to the cold northern region as of late.

The US is planning to invest billions into airports in Greenland, whereas Russia has already rebuilt six military bases within the Arctic Circle. It is estimated that from those bases, Russian fighter jets will now be able to reach Thule Air Base (Tulebasen), Greenland.

This has drawn attention to Greenland's vulnerability, not only to physical threats but to cyber attacks as well.

In April 2019 the Danish Minister of Defence, Claus Hjort Frederiksen declared that the Danish military will be introducing a new a compulsory military service which focuses mainly on cyber warfare.

Such initiatives are, however, mainly created to protect Denmark, and might therefore leave Greenland exposed.

Even the country's National Cyber Security Centre, Center for Cybersikkerhed, which was established in 2012 by the Danish Ministry of Defence, lacks both reach and effective action when it comes to Greenland.

“It is deeply worrying that we have such an important area that is neither protected by the NIS Directive  nor by the Defence Intelligence Service,” said John Foley, former Security Officer in the Danish Military of Defence.

NIS Directive
The Cyber Security Centre is subject to the NIS Directive, which sets requirements for Danish IT security of network and information systems. The NIS Directive does not include Greenland.

“Legislation does not currently allow for the Center of Cyber Security to...carry out the same [NIS Directive] authorised tasks in Greenland that are allowed for in Denmark."  Danish Minister of Defence, Frederiksen, responded when the issue was raised by the Danish Parliament's Greenland Committee. 

As a consequence "different levels of cyber and information security can occur in different parts of the kingdom," Fredriksen also observed.

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