A cyber attack can affect us in different ways. Over the past year, attacks from various groups, such as Anonymous, have paralysed websites and caused sensitive information to be published on the internet. White-collar internet crime is skyrocketing, with increasing reports of attempts at data espionage targeting Norwegian enterprises.
The risk of cyber attacks is greater than ever, with threats ranging from political activism on the internet to financial crime, intelligence, sabotage and terrorism.
A cyber attack can cause serious damage. Security breaches in process and control systems could result in unauthorised control over vital functions such as power generation, refineries, water supplies or sewage facilities, or the manipulation of important information.
So far, we have not seen cyber attacks against these functions in Norway, but the risk of a major coordinated attack has increased. Estonia and Georgia have both experienced major attacks and in 2010 the first attack against nuclear installations was reported in Iran.
It is hard to know for sure what the consequences of an attack on vital public functions would be. Therefore, such systems must maintain a very high level of security.