Intelligence service wants to do more against cyber attacks

Erik Akerboom, head of the Netherlands’ general intelligence service AIVD, wants to be able to respond “more practically and powerfully” to cyber attacks. The service is now not always able to act quickly, and the threat of cyber attacks is increasing, he said to EenVandaag.

“We see a daily stream of cyber incidents, small and large,” Akerboom said. “The law does provide opportunities to act. And we use them. But now we see that the threat is increasing. And there is need to be able to do more, if only to stop those who pose an offensive threat.”

According to Akerboom, the Netherlands’ open knowledge exchange and economy makes it vulnerable to these types of attacks. Much of the Netherlands’ infrastructure is also depended on the internet. “Water, power supply, payment services, supermarkets, supplies: these are all things that float on a digital process,” he said. “The disruption of this can have very serious consequences, also for our healthcare.”

From the perspective of cyber attacks, the biggest threats to the Netherlands come from China, Russia and Iran, Akerboom said. China is most interested in companies with high-quality technological knowledge, Russia is interested in political and military intelligence, he said. 

States are using cyber attacks in an attempt to increase their power by acquiring knowledge. “We see that happening right before our eyes,” Akerboom said. “There are organizations active of which you do not know whether they are affiliated with the government. As a result, criminal actors often overlap with state actors.”

“As AIVD and [military intelligence service] MIVD we must  join forces to get the best technology and people. And ensure that we are smarter, faster and better than our opponents,” Akerboom said to the program. 

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