The threat of cyber espionage against Danish research and universities
The purpose of this threat assessment is to provide information on the cyber threat against Danish universities and research institutions.
The threat of cyber espionage against Danish universities and research institutions is VERY HIGH. The threat has increased from HIGH to VERY HIGH since the last assessment, made in 2018.
Universities and research institutions are exposed to a persistent threat of cyber espionage. The threat emanates from foreign states that target research institutions worldwide. The threat of cyber espionage is also directed at Danish universities and research institutions, which have been repeated targets of cyber attack attempts.
Hackers often attempt to break into universities’ interconnected IT networks such as email systems, potentially allowing them to gain unauthorized access to research across different subject areas within the individual universities.
There is no clear picture of what kind of research the foreign states are targeting in their cyber espionage attacks. However, concrete incidents in Denmark and abroad indicate that foreign actors have a specific interest in certain subject areas.
Danish universities and research institutions also face a VERY HIGH threat from cyber crime. Like targets in many other sectors, universities may, for instance, fall victim to targeted ransomware attacks.
Centre for Cybersecurity
September 3, 2021