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Early warnings

4 July 2022
Before something happens, it happens on the net. Experts in visualisation can warn us about everything from military attack to risks in city planning.

We have heard that the internet is a reflection of the world, but now Staffan Truvé tells us that the world is becoming a reflection of the net. His background is Chalmers University of Technology and he is one of the founders of the global intelligence company Recorded Future.

“Our headquarters lies in Boston but most of our technical development takes place in Gothenburg and involves 110 people. Finding the right expertise here has proved to be really easy.”

The company collects enormous amounts of information from open sources and structures it with the help of artificial intelligence, AI, to create something which creates a digital twin of the threats it detects in the real world.

It’s thanks to this that the company’s analysts could discern signs of aggression against Ukraine in February, long before the world was shocked by the Russian attack.

“We follow all information on armed conflicts, but Ukraine is the major focus right now. We have seen this on the Russian side for a long time, since their first invasion in 2014. We have been talking about the three elements of modern warfare for ten years now – physical and cyber attacks and disinformation – and that’s exactly what’s happening.”

Western defence agencies as customers

Digital reproductions of military threats help analysts understand the aggressor’s intentions. At some time in the future Sweden might find this useful. In Staffan Truvé’s world cyber attacks and disinformation campaigns continue the whole time.

“It’ll be interesting to see how the Swedish election plays out. With the war in Ukraine and NATO membership, Russia will find it more important to influence opinion. Campaigns are likely to start in August. We’ll need to be extra vigilant.”

Recorded Future’s clients include western defence agencies and global corporations.

“We collect information from the whole word to understand the intentions of aggressive forces. For example, when a new weakness in an IT system is identified – and such vulnerabilities are discovered the whole time – we can see how much it is being discussed and warn our customers. We can also give warnings of threatened ransomware attacks.

“Ransomeware is so successful that it’s become a business model. Criminals recruit people to make attacks on the net – it’s like Situations Vacant. From that information we can get an idea of what type of attack we can expect.”

Text: Sofia Hillborg

Image: Samuel Unéus

The text was originally published in Gothenburg Magazine 2022

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