Säkerhetspolisen 2023/24

Threats and vulnerabilities

The troubled international situation has an impact on Sweden

The outcome of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine is crucial to the security of Europe and Sweden, as Russia’s focus may come to be aimed more at the West.
Conflicts in the Middle East, including the war between the terrorist organisation Hamas and Israel, contribute to polarisation and has an influence on actors in Sweden. This serious security situation will likely remain for a long period of time, and will affect the threat posed by foreign powers and violent extremism alike.

Threats from foreign powers

Foreign powers engage in security-threatening activities against Sweden on a broad scale. This includes everything from procurement of technology, cyber attacks, attack plots targeting individuals, compiling of information on dissidents, and attempts to influence Swedish decision-making. Russia, China and Iran pose the greatest threats to Sweden’s security. They operate, and to some extent cooperate, to alter the current global security order, which affects Sweden’s security situation.

Swedish technology is an alluring target

The war in Ukraine has left Russia in great need of technology and equipment in order to maintain its military capabilities. As a country at the forefront of technology and innovation, Sweden is an attractive target. The two greatest threats are Russia and China, but Iran is also engaged in technology procurement from Sweden.

New arenas mean new vulnerabilities

New technology and focus areas have consequences on Sweden’s security. The raw materials found in the Arctic, along with its strategic location, attract a growing interest from foreign powers, which in turn affects Swedish interests. The militarisation of space will also have consequences for Sweden, as many of our security-sensitive and essential services are dependent on space-related services. Rapid technological developments, not least in the area of AI, present enormous opportunities but also new threats and vulnerabilities.

High threat level

The attack threat against Sweden is posed mainly by violent Islamist extremism and violent right-wing extremism. Attacks are most likely to be carried out by lone actors. There is a slight trend towards attempts to guide attacks from abroad. There is also a threat from individuals motivated by a mixture of extremist ideologies, often influenced by conspiracy theories and anti-government rhetoric.

Developments place demands on protective security

The serious security situation places demands on Sweden’s resilience. One important element is to protect that which is most valuable. To reduce the vulnerability of security-sensitive activities, necessary security measures must continue to be prioritised.

A new portrayal of Sweden

Descriptions of Sweden as an anti-Islamic country have contributed to the increased terrorist threat from violent Islamist extremism, which now views Sweden as a legitimate target. Conspiracy theories and anti-government rhetoric are also being disseminated, especially online. Increasing distrust in societal functions and the democratic system risks undermining trust in public authorities and institutions.

Overlapping and mutually reinforcing threats

The situation is complex, and must be viewed as a whole to reveal the bigger picture. When the image of Sweden is challenged and its democracy questioned, foreign powers and violent extremists alike may take advantage to spur on division and polarisation, which in turn may have an effect on events in Sweden. To create smokescreens and deniability, foreign powers use proxies who, whether knowingly or unknowingly, are used to tarnish Sweden’s reputation.


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