Latvia’s most important intelligence service, the Constitution Protection Bureau (SAB), named China and Russia as the main cyber threats to NATO and the European Union.

SAB’s 2019 report focused mostly on the threat from the Russian Federation. According to the report, Russia funds think-tanks and “pseudo-academic organisations” to counter the legitimacy of Latvia’s and other Baltic countries’ statehoods.

However, there were also references to the increasing influence and attacks from China, which was mentioned as a growing cyber and espionage threat. China was not mentioned in the 2017 report, while in the 2018 the document mentioned Beijing’s cyber operations aimed at obtaining data, mainly through economic intelligence.

According to the 2019 report, the number of China’s cyberattacks is increasing and poses a serious problem for the security and economic interests of Latvia and other Western countries.

The document says that, over the last five years, China has greatly invested in its cyber activities, and that hacker groups controlled by the Chinese secret services have improved their technical tools. It also says that China’s cyberattacks are carried out against public institutions, private companies, the academic community, government institutions, the military and defence sector, as well as NGO’s.

The report suggests avoiding products and services from countries running offensive cyber programmes against NATO and EU members, such as Russia, China, North Korea and Iran.

Beijing’s embassy in Latvia rejected the report as “unfounded and irresponsible”, adding that “unjustified speculation and stigmatisation is undesirable”.

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