Digitization makes NL extra vulnerable to cyber attacks, counter-terror boss warns

The national coordinator for counter-terrorism and security NCTV expressed concerns about the fact that almost all of the Netherlands' vital processes and systems have been digitized, and that there are virtually no fall-back options. This makes the Netherlands insufficiently resilient and therefore vulnerable to digital attacks, the NCTV said on Wednesday, NU.nl reports. 

"The Netherlands depends on a limited number of suppliers and countries. This makes us vulnerable to their changing intentions. For example, the vast majority of hardware and software is designed or produced in China and the United States", the NCTV said. 

The counter-terrorism authority added that little knowledge is needed to carry out a cyber attack. Add to that the Netherlands' "absence of fall-back options", such an attack can lead to damage that disrupts society. For example, if an attack targets the gas, electricity or water supplies. "In the coming years it will remain a challenge to maintain resilience to such an extent that we can cope with increasing dependence and changing threats." 

Like the security services previously warned, the NCTV agrees that the greatest threat to the Netherlands comes from China, Iran and Russia. China is the biggest threat in the field of economic espionage, and Russia finds the Netherlands an "interesting espionage target" due to the investigation into the MH17 disaster, the NCTV said.