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Diana Selck Paulsson orange defense scaled

NATO membership can generate cyber security attacks against Swedish businesses

Sweden's NATO membership may now be imminent, which may result in a large number of cyber security attacks against Swedish businesses. Cybersecurity researcher Diana Selck-Paulsson predicts that Orange Cyber Defense, who studied the development of attacks against Nordic businesses. A large increase in attacks occurred against Finland when it joined NATO.

According to the latest news reporting, Turkey's parliament has now approved Sweden's NATO membership. Only President Erdogan's approval remains for Turkey. Hungary has previously stated that the country does not want to be the last to vote, which could result in Sweden becoming a member of NATO very soon.

- There is an imminent risk that Sweden will be exposed to a large number of cyber attacks, especially from politically motivated threat actors such as NoName057(16), says Diana Selck-Paulsson, security researcher at Orange Cyber Defense. NoName057(16) is a pro-Russian threat actor who uses his volunteer DDoSia project to target Western businesses in both the private and public sectors. A recurring theme in NoName's target groups is NATO and its members. The group has been active since March 2022, and has besides directing towards NATO members, also focused on locations for summits and other similar events, on more than 50 occasions.

When Finland joined NATO in April 2023, attacks were observed that could be linked to the political aspect of NATO membership, something that threat actors used as an argument to attack both private and public businesses in Finland.

Impact to the Nordic countries
Image: The development of ransomware and cyber extortion attacks in the Nordics 2020-2023

Since joining NATO, Finland has been hit by more cyber attacks, a development that suggests that Sweden will also be exposed in a similar way. Actors like NoName057(16) can also drag other threat actors into attacks against Sweden now and after possible NATO membership. It is therefore important to be well prepared for a rapid increase in the number of attacks directed at both public and private businesses in Sweden.

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