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Security Brief: Counterintelligence and Cyber (CICYBER) Week of April 10, 2022

April 10 - 13, 2022 | Issue 3

Keanna Grelicha, Emma Hoskins, Marina Tovar, CICYBER Team

Hannah Norton, Editor; Jennifer Loy, Chief of Staff



Global Network[1]



Date: April 11, 2022

Location: Nordic States

Parties involved: Sweden; Finland; Norway; Denmark; Norway; Norwegian National Security Authority (NSM); Iceland; Estonia; Latvia; Lithuania; NATO; Russia; Ukraine

The event: The threat of Russian cyberattacks amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict has pushed Finland, Norway, and Sweden to increase their cybersecurity to protect against future cyberattacks. Finland and Sweden are discussing joint cross-border initiatives to improve their cybersecurity and deepening defense partnerships with, and likely joining, NATO in the future. Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Iceland have had talks about creating a joint Nordic Cyber Defense collaboration. The partnership would involve the emergency preparedness agencies, a shared early warning system (EWS) to share intelligence and real-time threats, and national cyber defense centers in the participant countries. Participation in the Nordic Cyber Defense collaboration would be open to NATO-aligned countries like Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to strengthen intelligence-sharing methods and resources.[2]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Finland and Sweden’s plans to join NATO will very likely increase tensions with Russia due to Russia’s demands for no NATO expansion. Russia will very likely attempt to prevent Finland and Sweden from joining NATO by increasing military presence at their borders. Increased pressure on Sweden and Finland will unlikely prevent them from joining NATO as it will very likely grant them access to cyber and military resources, like malware-detecting tools, that will likely increase their defense capabilities against Russia.

  • Intelligence-sharing on real-time cyberattacks and threats will likely increase these countries’ effectiveness in identifying and responding to incoming threats. Cross-border communication will almost certainly allow for reviewing preventive policies and mitigation plans, very likely improving cyberattack responses. Increased cooperation will likely allow countries to benefit from partners’ cyber resources, like cyber specialists and ransomware recovery tools. Advanced cyber tools and reviewed procedures will almost certainly improve cyber defense systems, likely enabling better preparedness for incoming cyberattacks.


Date: April 11, 2022

Location: South Pacific

Parties involved: China; Chinese police and military; Solomon Islands; Island of Malaita; Island of Honiara; Australia; Australian troops; New Zealand; New Zealander troops; Papua New Guinea; Papuan troops; Fiji; Fijian troops; International Community

The event: A security alliance draft plan between China and the Solomon Islands leaked online alludes to China’s use of the Islands as a base for Chinese police and military personnel while assisting the Islands in maintaining social order. There is also a signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) between China and the Solomon Islands allowing China to enforce military and police cooperation with training programs directed to the Solomon Islands law enforcement. The agreement and MoU resulted in rising tensions with South Pacific countries like Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and Fiji due to location and historical ties. Tensions concern large Chinese communities located in some Islands, like the island of Malaita, which have previously experienced attacks leading to Australian, New Zealander, Papuan, and Fijian troops’ involvement to restore order and security.[3]

Analysis & Implications:

  • A lack of counterintelligence measures, like access controls for sensitive security data, very likely led to the leak of the agreement. The leak almost certainly allows Australia to gather intelligence on the agreement and adjust provided physical security to the Solomon Islands. If China establishes a military presence in the Islands, Australia will likely increase security measures like intelligence gathering and police positioning to ensure China does not seek the Islands’ control through social order assistance. If confrontations between Chinese and Australian security forces occur leading to the targeting of Chinese communities, neighboring countries, like Papua New Guinea, will likely intervene to restore order in those communities as previously done.

  • The agreement and MoU’s exposure very likely increases concerns among South Pacific countries about Chinese military and police expansion. If China continues this expansion, South Pacific countries will very likely increase their security in response. Chinese ability to conduct its military and police training of the Solomon Islands’ forces while assisting with policing very likely raises concerns with neighboring countries regarding the jurisdictional authority of Island police and military forces. South Pacific countries’ perceptions of security concerns due to Chinese police presence will very likely result in diplomatic dialogue to mitigate concerns and examine the Islands’ areas of jurisdiction.

________________________________________________________________________ The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)

[1] “Global Network” by The Digital Artist licensed by Pixabay License

[2] Nordic countries discuss joint cyber defense capability, BBC, April 2022, https://www.computerweekly.com/news/252515733/Nordics-discuss-joint-cyber-defence-capability

[3] Leaked plan for China-Solomon Islands security alliance raises concerns in the Pacific, IntelNews, April 2022, https://intelnews.org/2022/04/11/01-3185/

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