Breaches of data security part of extensive influence campaign

2021-04-13

The Swedish Security Service has conducted a criminal investigation into suspected gross breach of data security by a Russian intelligence service. On 13 April 2021, the prosecutor decided to discontinue the investigation as prosecution abroad or extradition to Sweden are not viable options in this case.

- The Swedish Security Service is aware that Russia is engaging in security-threatening activities against Sweden. Through cyberattacks and influence campaigns, sometimes against targets seemingly unconnected to Sweden’s security, Russia is attempting to discredit Sweden for its own benefit, says Daniel Stenling, Head of Counter-Intelligence at the Swedish Security Service.

The criminal investigation has shown that several cyberattacks targeting the Swedish Sports Confederation were carried out by the 85th Centre of the Russian military intelligence service GRU in the period between December 2017 and May 2018, as part of an extensive Russian influence campaign.

- The cyberattacks targeting the Swedish Sports Confederation is an example of using sports to strengthen a country’s image, while at the same time discrediting other countries and their athletes, says Daniel Stenling.

Countries engaging in security-threatening activities against Sweden combine and use all available resources in society to reach their strategic goals. Such activities are constant, target an increasing number of areas, such as political decision-making, economy, territorial sovereignty and fundamental rights and freedoms, and have an impact on Sweden’s democracy.

- Security-threatening activities may have a multi-faceted purpose, and be both direct and indirect. The underlying goal may be to strengthen both the regime and the country’s status as a superpower, and to influence decision-making. The cyberattacks targeting the Swedish Sports Confederation must be seen in this context, says Daniel Stenling.

The Swedish Security Service has cooperated with several foreign services in the criminal investigation, which has been headed by a prosecutor at the National Security Unit of the Swedish Prosecution Authority.

News at the Swedish Prosecution Authority (2021-04-13)external link