According to minister of Defence, Ank Bijleveld, The Netherlands is in a “cyber war” with the Russians. Recently the Netherlands foiled a Russian hack attack on the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons when it expelled four Russian hackers.
She feels that foreign agents are trying to influence the Dutch way of life, and Dutch democracy, in various ways. Bijleveld feels that the Dutch need to stop being naïve about what the Russian State is doing. She states:
‘It is really dangerous’
As we reported last week, in April four Russian military agents were expelled from the country because they were attempting to hack the OPCW’s Wi-Fi network in a blatant attack in The Hague. They were caught in the act.
Laughably, according to the Russian foreign minister, it was just a routine tourist visit
Bijleveld insists that what the Russians are doing is really dangerous. The continued attempts by Russia to influence elections across the world is only the tip of the iceberg. The Americans are still investigating interference during the US presidential elections in 2016.
An offer by the minister to NATO to deploy Dutch “cybersoldaten” is on the table and is being actively looked at by officials.
There may also be the need for Western nations to see whether they should go on the offensive if necessary.
We know that the Dutch Military Intelligence and Security Service (MIVD) has been warning for years that Russian cyber espionage is increasing and that the Chinese and North Koreans are also very active in this area. The Ministry of Defense is investing extra in its cyber capacity and intelligence service.
We have seen the relationship between the Netherlands and Russia deteriorate in recent years. Especially since 2014, when the Russians occupied the Crimea and flight MH17 above Eastern Ukraine was shot from the air. Despite Russia’s denials, we know this happened when a buk-rocket was fired by pro-Russian rebels in the Ukraine and that it came from a Russian military base at Koersk.