Security Service head named new Swedish police chief

The head of Sweden's Security Service Säpo will leave his role to become the new chief of the Swedish police.

Security Service head named new Swedish police chief
Anders Thornberg (right) and Sweden's justice minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

On Thursday Justice Minister Morgan Johansson announced that Anders Thornberg will replace Dan Eliasson from February 15th, after the latter resigned to lead disaster preparedness agency MSB.

Eliasson had faced regular criticism since he was appointed as head of police in 2014.

READ ALSO: Swedish police chief Dan Eliasson resigns

The Swedish police have been under increased pressure in recent years as stretched resources and limited officer numbers make their work increasingly difficult, but Thornberg said he is ready for the challenge.

“I've been a police for 37 years and defended Swedish integrity. I'm humble about the task and know it's a challenge,” he told the media at a press conference called to make the announcement.

Briefly outlining his vision for the organization, Thornberg said he wanted the police to do more preventative work:

“I see a police which moves its position against crime through increased cooperation, nationally and internationally.”

The announcement was welcomed by unions and officers.

“Anders Thornberg has extensive knowledge of police work and can motivate and engage employees. He’s the unifying force the Swedish police needs,” Swedish Police Union chairwoman Lena Nitz said in a statement.

“He's a police at heart, has been out in the field and knows what the police face every day. I think it’s an important pillar for being able to take the right decisions and being able to motive and engage the police force.”

READ ALSO: Working on the front line in Stockholm's vulnerable suburbs

“Anders Thornberg. Welcome. There's work to do, but it feels confidence building and hopeful. From difficulties to success. Also found out that he's an old Södermalm cop. The pieces are falling in place,” the YB Södermalm account, run by officers in the south of Stockholm wrote on Twitter.

Thornberg took over as head of Säpo in 2012, and had worked at the organization since 1986. Before then he was a patrol officer in Södermalm after training in Stockholm.


Sweden launches major state initiative to fight cybercrime aimed at smart cars

Connected cars are increasingly exposed to security threats. Therefore, a major government initiative is now being launched via the research institute Rise.

Sweden launches major state initiative to fight cybercrime aimed at smart cars

More and more technical gadgets are now connected to the internet, and cars are no exception. However, the new reality raises questions about security, and from the Swedish side, an initiative is now being launched to combat cybercrime in the car industry through the government research institute Rise.

“We see a great need (for action), in regards to cyber-attacks in general and solving challenges related to the automotive industry’s drive to make cars more and more connected, and in the long run, perhaps even self-driving,” Rise chief Pia Sandvik stated.

Modern cars now have functions that allow car manufacturers to send out software updates exactly the same way as with mobile phones.

In addition to driving data, a connected car can also collect and pass on technical information about the vehicle.

Nightmare scenario

However, all this has raised questions about risks and the worst nightmare scenario in which someone could be able to take over and remotely operate a connected car.

Sandvik points out that, generally speaking, challenges are not only related to car safety but also to the fact that the vehicle can be a gateway for various actors to get additional information about car owners.

“If you want to gain access to information or cause damage, you can use different systems, and connected vehicles are one such system. Therefore, it is important to be able to test and see if you have robust and resilient systems in place,” she said.

Ethical hackers

Initially, about 15 employees at Rise will work on what is described as “Europe’s most advanced cyber security work” regarding the automotive industry.

Among the employees, there are also so-called “ethical hackers”, i.e., people who have been recruited specifically to test the systems.

“These are hackers who are really good at getting into systems, but not with the aim of inflicting damage, but to help and contribute to better solutions,” Sandvik noted.