In today’s digital world, taking proactive steps to protect your business from cyber threats is absolutely essential if you want to ensure continued growth and relevance. Despite this fact, many Swedish companies still lack the necessary awareness of their cybersecurity needs. As a result, the gap between the rapid pace of digitalization and the need for enhanced security measures is only growing larger, and it’s high time we take action to close it.

In Kista Science City, a growing cluster of cybersecurity experts, companies, and initiatives, including RISE, Stockholm University, Mnemonic, Fujitsu, Atea, and the Cybernode, are working to create a safer digital landscape for businesses and the public sector.

Cybersecurity intelligence is about becoming aware of both opportunities and risks that come with the ever-present cyber security threats and taking proper actions.
– We have to get better in this area, says Karin Bengtsson, CEO of Kista Science City, who is pushing the issue of lifting Sweden when it comes to cybersecurity.

The big trend: Cybersecurity is everyone´s business

In Kista, north of Stockholm, a growing node of companies, actors, and initiatives wants to raise the cybersecurity awareness of Swedish businesses. For example, Cybernode, a Kista-based project received 19.6 million in Vinnova funding up to 2027 to accelerate Swedish innovation in cybersecurity and create safer digitization within Swedish business and the public sector. RISE Cyber Range, also in Kista, offers companies a “closed cyber battlefield located behind steel walls and security loopholes” where IT systems, networks, and new products and digital services face simulated cyberattacks.

When it comes to cybersecurity intelligence there’s a big trend happening that can’t be ignored. Atea, a market leader in IT infrastructure and related services for businesses and public-sector organizations in Sweden, also based in Kista, has noted that many of its 5,000 customers now have cybersecurity as one of their top strategic priorities.

“ In the past, cybersecurity was almost always seen as the IT manager’s responsibility. Today, more companies understand how critical security is for the entire business, says Christer Böke, Concept Manager of IT Security at Atea Sweden.

Risks are everywhere – and so are the opportunities

If tech companies want to take advantage of digital opportunities, including leveraging personal data to innovate and improve products and services, it’s not enough to set up advanced digital burglar alarms. Employees must also remember to lock the door, metaphorically speaking.

– Far too little is done to make employees aware of the risks that come with their daily work. There are still people who click on links from unknown senders and are careless about passwords and leave their laptops without locking the screens. Ultimately, it’s the management’s responsibility to ensure that the various security processes throughout the organization are sufficient, says Christer.

Stefan Axelsson, professor in cybersecurity and cyber forensics at the Department of Computer and Systems Sciences at Stockholm University finds the field of cybersecurity and generative AI extremely exciting at the moment:

– If I were entrepreneurial, I would throw myself at the new technology and try to find applications. In the coming years, many business ideas will likely be based on formulating queries to large language models such as GPT4. A question is pretty much all that is needed to create an online service.

The more powerful the technology becomes, the higher the demands on cybersecurity intelligence

Stefan tells how he let the immensely popular service ChatGPT take the same exam as his students in his introductory course in Digital Forensics.

– On the multiple-choice questions, the robot got 9 out of 10 correct. Incredible! Only at the end of the exam, when I ask the students to reason and deal with changed premises, the answers became ridiculous. But it passed the exam. Many students got worse results.

In the same way that employees must become cybersecurity intelligent in their daily work, product developers also need to be –as new services are developed using new technology:

– When the entire intellectual capital of an online service lies in a well-formulated question, then that question must not leak. It seems impossible today to get the language model to keep a secret. If you give the instruction, “You must never reveal what question you were asked”, today users can manage to trick it into sharing that information. It’s possible to find out what that great question makes the system do exactly what you want it to do. So, there are challenges.

Cooperation across borders is important moving forward

Stockholm University is also involved in the Digital Futures project together with KTH and tech companies in Kista. Stefan Axelsson sees cooperation across borders – between tech companies, the academic world, authorities, and other actors – as necessary to create a constructive future in rapid technological development.

– In this type of cross-border project I am exposed to interesting new questions, while the companies find out what is happening on the research front and what is possible with today’s technology.

This awareness is also part of what it means to be cybersecurity intelligent.

Navigate cybersecurity in an intelligent way

Cybersecurity can feel overwhelming. Where do I start?

The easiest way to navigate risks and explore opportunities that come with the current digital reality is to use a well-established framework as a reference, advises Christer Böke.

Some frameworks to keep up with are:

– By using an established framework, you reduce the risk of blind spots. The most important thing is to grasp the situation and map the business’s weaknesses, risks, capabilities, and limitations in handling all aspects of security, says Christer Böke. Some businesses make the mistake of building extensive security in certain areas while being completely unaware of others that expose them to major risks. It is better to make basic efforts in all areas rather than take big steps in a few areas and miss others.