Cyber attack ‘could paralyse Sweden’

A large-scale attack on Sweden's computer infrastructure could paralyse the country within hours, experts have warned. The government needs to act now to ensure the security of Sweden's vital services and functions, they say.

The warning was made by experts at two leading Swedish defence establishments. Dan Larsson, information security specialist at the National Defence Radio Establishment and Roland Heickerö, lead researcher at FOI, Sweden’s defence research institute, made the warning in an article in newspaper Dagens Nyheter on Friday.

Reliance on computers, the internet and wireless communication increases society’s vulnerability to other countries or terror organizations waging war through cyber-attacks, the pair write.

Civil aviation, mobile phone systems, computer communications, the GPS system, trains and transport networks all risk being severely disrupted by such an attack, they warn.

“The technical and socio-economic consequences of a cyber-attack against vital infrastructure would be significant and could paralyse large parts of society, as well an individual companies and organizations,” they write.

Larsson and Heickerö say they are “disturbed” by the absence of a national action plan to tackle the problem.

“It is of supreme importance that the country’s political leadership acts energetically and systematically in the question,” they demanded.