Security services want more money to fight espionage from China, Russia
The Dutch economy is being threatened by digital espionage from China and Russia and the security and intelligence services therefore want more budget and better cooperation with governments, companies and universities to fight it, the directors of the intelligence services and the national coordinator for counterterrorism said to Het Financieele Dagblad.
The services catch Chinese and Russian hackers trying to break into companies and universities on a daily basis, they said. There are also regular attacks on the Netherlands' vital infrastructure, such as the energy and drinking water facilities, banks, and telecom networks. The Chinese and Russians do not shy away from digital attacks, Jan Swillens, director of military intelligence service MIVD, said to the newspaper. "They want it, the can and they do it."
The attacks on "all the crown jewels of the Dutch economy" threaten the country's "national earning capacity", Erik Akerboom, director of general intelligence service AIVD, said to FD. The maritime industry, agriculture, aerospace, artificial intelligence, and quantum technology sectors are regularly targeted he said.
According to Akerboom, the danger from China in particular is underestimated. "They work with an order list of technology they want to collect in the world." He therefore suggested having foreign investments in the Netherlands assessed for potential threats to national security from now on.
The services also told the newspaper that they want more consultation with Dutch companies in the fight against espionage. Employers' organization VNO-NCW and the umbrella organization for data centers already indicated they'd be willing to participate in such consultation. The AIVD and MIVD also want recruit more hackers and upgrade their IT system, which is why they need a bigger budget, directors said.
The AIVD currently has a budget of over 316 million euros per year. The budget for the MIVD is a state secrete, as the service falls under the Ministry of Defense.