Finnish energy companies prepare for sabotage

Finnish energy companies prepare for sabotage |

Increasing disinformation, cyberattacks and drones have got Finland’s authorities worried while the country’s transmission system operator steps up security measures.

Meanwhile, EU countries struggle to find a common vision for securing critical infrastructure in the short term.

Sabotage against critical energy infrastructure cannot be ruled out this winter, an anonymous source working at an energy firm told Ilta-Sanomat in an interview on Monday, noting that technical “disruptions” had already occurred without elaborating details.

Regarding drones, Finnish police received as many reports on dubious drones in October as they did for the preceding nine months of this year.

Cyberattacks against critical infrastructure have also been on the rise, as figures went from three in 2021 to 11 for this year, according to National Cyber Security Centre figures.

Russian intelligence is changing its approach and ”will turn to the cyber environment over the winter,” the Security and Intelligence Service also warned at the end of September.

Also of concern are Russian-owned properties, particularly those located near energy facilities. Next year, authorities will be able to rely on a new law that gives them the right to deny the sale of properties to the “wrong hands”.

In the same Ilta-Sanomat article,  the Unit Manager Tuomas Rauhala of Fingrid, Finland’s transmission system operator, delivered a reassuring message. Preparedness remains good, and it is constantly being improved, said Rauhala.

Facilitating electricity adequacy is also something Finland and other Baltic partners are looking into.

Meeting in Helsinki in the first week of November, the Baltic Sea transmission system operators expressed their readiness ”to work in cooperation to facilitate electricity adequacy and provide each other with the necessary information as well as system services to reduce risks”.

The vulnerability of the EU’s critical infrastructure came under the spotlight at the end of September following the detected leakage of two Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea, an act of deliberate sabotage that Western security agencies attributed to Russia.

Since then, Western officials have become increasingly weary of Moscow’s potential involvement in security incidents around the continent.

A few days later, sabotage of the cables underpinning the rail services disrupted traffic in several German regions, episodes which prompted a sense of urgency for EU leaders, who have since been scrambling to secure gas pipelines, undersea cables and transport networks.

On 5 October, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen presented a five-point plan to secure critical European infrastructure, which included carrying out stress tests and early implementation of the Critical Entities Resilience directive (CER), a proposal put on paper as a recommendation to the EU countries.

Yet, as written feedback by bloc members seen by EURACTIV reveals, European capitals are far from enthusiastic about stepped-up responsibilities, with Germany, France, Sweden and Slovenia raising concerns the EU executive’s text goes significantly beyond what was already agreed upon in the CER directive.

(Pekka Vanttinen |

Finnish energy companies prepare for sabotage |

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