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CRIME

Swedish police appeal for information after Stockholm explosion

Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward after what was described as "one of the most powerful explosions" damaged cars and a building in an upmarket central Stockholm district.

Swedish police appeal for information after Stockholm explosion
The blast shattered windows in the street. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Nobody was injured in the blast, which happened at 1am at the street Gyllenstiernsgatan in the Östermalm area of the Swedish capital, but it could be heard several kilometres away.

It damaged the building and cars parked along the street, with broken glass and debris covering the area.

In response, police launched a so-called “special incident” (or särskild händelse in Swedish), a move that usually means a temporary task force is set up to focus solely on the specified problem, and which can be launched to deal with a range of unexpected or sudden issues for which more resources are needed.

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Late on Monday it remained unclear exactly what caused the explosion, which is being investigated as a criminal act, or specifically “devastation endangering the public” (allmänfarlig ödeläggelse).

No arrests had been made, but police said they had received a lot of tips and information.

There were no known threats that had been made against any resident in the building, which is located in one of the most expensive areas in central Stockholm, but police said they were still investigating.

“We have extra resources on the site to be available to residents and others who have questions or are feeling anxious about the incident,” Erik Widstrand, head of the Stockholm City policing area, said on Monday.

“It is one of the most powerful explosions we have had in the region and we are keen to collect as many observations and tips as possible.”

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CRIME

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.

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