Our cyber security requires major investment

The strength of the European Union is a shared value base: promoting peace, security, and respect for fundamental rights and freedoms. The defence of Western values shifted suddenly from theory into practice when Russia invaded Ukraine.

Society as a whole is becoming increasingly reliant on digital services and data. Preparedness for deviations in telecommunications and ICT systems is vital to the security of supply. Cyberattacks and incidents of various types are inevitable, but we need to be able to tackle them. It has been estimated that Finland has the cleanest telecommunications networks in the world. To keep them that way, telecommunications companies work to improve network security and make advance preparations for problems. Citizens’ trust in the security of communication networks is fundamental to telecommunications operators. 

Cyberattacks are changing the face of conflicts

It may be difficult to identify the people behind cyberattacks, making it impossible to hold them responsible for their actions. The struggle against an adversary is no longer limited to the physical domain, and international conflicts may be joined by new entities.

Russia’s military action against Ukraine, including cyberattacks, prompted an international group of hackers to launch counter-attacks against the Russian regime. If the details of the hacker collective’s results are accurate, the strikes have had a significant impact on websites and online services in Russia.

New threats call for new approaches

Cyber security is one of the cornerstones of technological development. The EU is constantly updating its cyber legislation and expanding its scope to new sectors. Due to its geopolitical position, Finland has led the charge in cyber regulation while many other EU countries have only begun to tackle the issue in recent years.

The programme of the Finnish Government led by Prime Minister Sanna Marin includes important sections on cyber security and its development. In line with its programme, the Government has reformed the national cyber security strategy and launched its implementation. A comprehensive cyber security development programme has also been drawn up, including concrete implementation proposals. The objective is to improve cyber security over the long term and, importantly, across industry boundaries. Cyber security needs to be a part of the state’s preparedness plan, but it must do more than generate threats: it must build the capability to manage incidents and recover from them. 

Cyber security requires money

Cyber security programmes and road maps are constantly being drawn up in Finland, but resourcing and implementation are in danger of falling short. The implementation of the development programme would require annual funding of approximately EUR 6 million from 2022 to 2025. However, cyber security is not the top funding priority for the administrative branch of the Ministry of Transport and Communications this year, and Finland’s national budget does not earmark any resources for cyber development.

Constant development work and investments from all concerned are required to maintain cyber security.  Keynote speeches and road maps are not enough to ensure societal preparedness. It will require political will, adequate resources, and collaboration between multiple sectors. Making preparations for cyber security is among the normal day-to-day activities of entities in the digital sector.

Elina Ussa, Managing Director, FiCom