Tag: Finland

Finnish building-management systems cop the brunt of cyberattacks


There needs to be a level of cyber-security awareness regarding the design and maintenance of building-automation systems

There needs to be a level of cyber-security awareness regarding the design and maintenance of building-automation systems

Finns chilling as DDoS knocks out building control system | The Register

My Comments

Two apartment buildings in Finland became victims of distributed denial-of-service attacks which nobbled their building-management systems. This caused the buildings’ central heating and domestic hot water systems to enter a “safety shutdown” mode because the remote management systems were in an endless loop of rebooting and both these systems couldn’t communicate to each other. The residents ended up living in cold apartments and having cold showers because of this failure.

What is being realised is that, as part of the Internet Of Things, building-management equipment is being seen to be vulnerable, due to factors like the poor software maintenance and an attitude against hardening these systems against cyber-attacks. Then there is the issue of what level of degraded-but-safe functionality should exist for these systems if they don’t communicate to a remote management computer. This also includes the ability for the systems themselves to pass alarm information to whoever is in charge.

This situation has called out data-security issues with design and implementation of dedicated-purpose “backbone devices” connected to the Internet; along with the data-security and service-continuity risks associated with cloud-based computing. It is also an issue that is often raised with essential services like electricity, gas and water services or road-traffic management being managed by Internet-connected computers with these computers being vulnerable to cyberattack.

One of the issues raised included the use of firewalls that run up-to-date software and configurations to protect these systems from cyberattack.

I would also look at a level of fail-safe operation for building management systems that can be implemented if the Internet link to remote management computers dies; along with the ability to use cellular-telephony SMS or similar technology to send alarm messages to building management during a link-fail condition. The fail-safe mode could be set up for a goal of “safe, secure, comfortable” quasi-normal operation if the building-local system identifies itself as operating in a safe manner.

Finland – the first country to actually have a universal broadband Internet service obligation in place

News Articles

Internet for all, declares Finland | The Age Technology (Australia)

Finland the first country in the world to make broadband access a legal right | Engadget

Is Broadband a Basic Right? Finland Says Yes! | GigaOM

My comments

Previously, I had written a post on this blog about Finland proposing to establish universal access to broadband Internet with a minimum speed of 1Mbps as a basic right. This was in response to the usual blogosphere comments about a legal right to download BitTorrents of movies and similar content in that country when this news was initially broken, and I was stating it as a preparation ground for IP-based video services, VoIP telephony and the ability to use the Internet to do business competitively.

Now this goal has become real with the Finnish government with them establishing certain Internet providers as “universal service providers” who have to provide the service for 30-40€ / month. Another issue that hasn’t been raised in the press coverage is how Finland will finance this universal-service obligation.

This is whether through:

  • spending by the government out of the country’s annual budget
  • a levy on telecommunications or Internet services (current practice in the US for the universal telephone service)
  • annexing the TV-licence or similar audiovisual-service fee used to fund the public broadcast service (UK’s proposed solution) or
  • simply letting the universal-service providers charge more for discretionary services (current practice in Australia with Telstra).

One of the articles was also looking at idea of the US adopting a similar “bill-of-rights” method for protecting the standard of Internet service in that country. This is even though there is a lawsuit filed by Comcast against the FCC that is currently in progress concerning Net neutrality and the right if the state to have their hand in the provision of Internet service.

What I see of this is that Finland has led the pack by being the first country to write in their law books that broadband Internet be provided as a universal service in a similar manner to mains electricity or the telephone service. It will be interesting to see who will be the next country to take tbis step seriously.

Legal right to 1Mbps broadband Internet in Finland

Finnish government promises fast broadband by 2015 | Helsinki Times (Finland)

Finland says that 1Mb broadband is a right, not a privilege | Engadget

Broadband a legal right from 2010 in Finland | ThinkBroadband

Applause For Finland: First Country To Make Broadband Access A Legal Right | TechCrunch

Le haut débit devient un droit fondamental en Finlande | DegroupNews (France – French language)

My comments on this step towards universal Internet access

Most countries who implement universal Internet access take it to a similar level to how electricity or telephone are provided to everyone. But Finland have done what would be typical of a progressive Scandinavian country with a tech economy. They have made this a legal right for Finnish inhabitants to have 1 Mbps broadband-grade “hot and cold running” Internet by July 2010 and the minimum to be raised 10Mbps to 2015.

This has put an impetus on the government to set up the necessary programs in an orderly manner rather than adopting a “Monte Carlo” approach to providing universal broadband Internet service. As well, Finland is setting themselves as an example to other states when it comes to providing universal broadband Internet and assuring its access by all citizens.

A lot of the blogosphere have made comments on this achievement by describing it as a right to download BitTorrents of movie and TV material but they don’t think of such concepts as triple-play or “over-the-top” video, improved telephony or the ability to run competitive business.

At least this is an example of a country being a “proving ground” for broadband Internet access being as much a protected right as running water.