Great Turnout for Cyber Security Seminar in the Swedish Parliament

On Thursday, the Moderate Party MP Oliver Rosengren, in collaboration with Consid, hosted a seminar on cybersecurity in the Parliament. The event attracted around 70 invited guests, who listened to speakers Ole Dubnov and Yegor Aushev from Cyber Unit Technologies.

Multiple people are sitting at lunch at the Riksdag.
Seminariet hölls i Scandiasalen.

The Ukrainian company Cyber Unit Technologies has, since Russia’s full-scale attack on Ukraine, built up a cyber army strong enough to counter Russian assaults. The company’s two principals were keynote speakers at the parliamentary seminar and emphasized the importance of education in resisting attacks.

– Knowledge is key, both in what to do and why it happens. Cyber hygiene, plain and simple. A computer doesn’t just stop functioning without reason, and if it does, action must be taken. For hackers, it’s about identifying the weakest link in a network and gaining entry that way, said Ole Dubnov, explaining that it’s not always someone within the organization who becomes the entry point:

– It could be a son or daughter, a mother-in-law – anyone who, in one way or another, can provide access to the organization’s network. The human factor is very often the cause of intrusions, and through education, we can minimize the window for attacks.

When Kyiv Star, Ukraine’s largest telecom company, was attacked in the autumn of 2023, it was precisely the human factor that opened the door to the attack.

– Internet was shut down for millions of people, and it didn’t stop there. Because they are so significant, there were also disruptions in things like air raid alarms. It shows how sensitive this type of infrastructure actually is.

The issue of cybersecurity became even more pertinent in early 2024 when Tietoevry was subjected to a widespread cyberattack. Most indications point to the Russian-affiliated hacker group Akira being behind the attack.

– It’s easy to see Akira as a single group that can be easily neutralized, but that’s not the case. It involves several subgroups gathered under one umbrella. That’s what makes groups like them so dangerous – you can’t take out one cell and think the threat is over. How do you protect yourself? That’s a difficult question. It requires very high technical competence to withstand organizations like Akira, said Yegor Aushev.

In the everyday operations of Cyber Unit, Russia poses the biggest threat in the cyber arena. This involves not only groups like Akira with more or less direct ties to the country but also companies. This was also emphasized by the Swedish expert Patrik “Paf” Fältström, who highlighted that education and practice are key factors in spreading knowledge on how to stop cyberattacks.

From the political sphere, Gustaf Göthberg of the Moderate Party, and Markus Selin of the Social Democrats, were on the panel. The former opened the discussion by addressing both areas of development and some of the government’s investments.

– A lot of good work is being done in these areas at a national level, but regionally, I see significant shortcomings, especially in areas like Gothenburg. It’s directors-general, municipal leaders, and regional managers who leave their computers completely open at their desks while they go to the bistro. That opens up opportunities for attacks in a frightening way, said Göthberg, highlighting the government’s investments in cybersecurity, such as the 25-million-kronor investment in a cyber center at KTH, as well as the need for international cooperation in the EU, UN, and NATO.

Markus Selin agreed that a lot of good work is being done; however, he questioned the current government’s actions.

– In opposition, it’s very easy to call for changes in cybersecurity strategies, but in government, it has taken a very long time to accomplish anything. The new strategy is supposed to be in place this autumn – halfway through the term. I also become concerned when it seems there’s no clear direction on which minister is responsible for the issue.

Consid’s CEO, Peter Hellgren, also participated in the seminar and was very satisfied afterward.

– It’s incredibly rewarding that we could organize this seminar. There were around 70 people present from various sectors of the business community and the public sector, which shows how important and relevant the issue is.

The entire seminar can be listened to retrospectively here.

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