Professional criminals are an ever greater danger to digital security in the Netherlands

Professional criminals are becoming increasingly better organized and are using advanced digital attack methods. In the past year, several large-scale attacks have taken place with a high degree of organisation, focusing on the theft of money and valuable information. In addition to the government, the victims were, increasingly, companies and private citizens. Professional criminals are thus, becoming a growing threat to the digital security in the Netherlands. That is apparent from the Cyber Security Assessment Netherlands 2016 (CSAN 2016) that State Secretary Dijkhoff presented to the Lower House today.

Last year there was an increase in actual cyber threats. According to Dijkhoff, the findings from the CSAN 2016 are worrisome: "These developments have implications for the whole of the Netherlands. Digital security is a prerequisite for the safe functioning of our society and important for confidence in the economy. Through the National Detection Network, the government and the business community keep each other informed about current threats. In the coming period, I am going to put extra effort into this digital dike monitoring. We have to be realistic: no one person can oversee everything all the time. Therefore, the government and society must work together to keep our online world safe. The basis is knowing where vulnerabilities are, sharing that information and then 'closing down the gaps.'

In addition, digital espionage has increased over the past year. This espionage is focused on political and economic information. This poses a major threat to national security and competitive position of the Netherlands. The Dutch intelligence and security services, for example, have observed espionage in Dutch companies within the defence industry and the key sectors.

The Government has already taken several measures to strengthen the digital security of the Netherlands. Through the action programme of the second National Cyber Security Strategy, major steps have been taken. For example, the purchase of secure software is being stimulated. Public campaigns such as Alert Online are increasing awareness. Investments are also being made in innovation and education. Moreover, the Netherlands took the lead, during its EU presidency, in placing cyber security on the international agenda.

Dijkhoff "The Netherlands has the knowledge, skills and ability at this time to be active at the top level of the digital domain. However, extra effort is necessary. To continue to be able to cope with the threats, the Netherlands must take the next step in order to keep up with the digital age. That is only possible if the government and the business community work together. That is also what society expects.'