The General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) is deeply concerned about the increase in cyber attacks by countries like Russia, China and Iran. In the last six months of 2016 the service counted hundreds of attacks on Dutch government agencies and companies, says AIVD director–general Rob Bertholee in an exclusive interview with Holland’s leading news and current affairs programme EenVandaag.

Bertholee: "In the last six months we have seen hundreds of attempts to hack into emails and company data. It’s a real challenge to stay ahead of the game."

 According to Bertholee Russia even tries to gain access to secret government documents.

 Bertholee: "We are talking about gaining access to reports from the government. I think that is a threat to our democracy. The danger is twofold: they can interfere with the workings of our parliament and influence the government’s decision-making process. Second: is that they can steal business and economic secrets and undermine the earning power of the Dutch business community."

According to the AIVD it is clear that especially Russia was behind the hacking attempts. But Rob Bertholee thinks that taking action against countries like Russia is pointless.

Bertholee: "The AIVD knows what is happening, but gaining evidence is very tricky. It makes little sense to say to China or Russia: ‘we have noticed you have assaulted us’. They will deny and then the story ends.”

The interview with Rob Bertholee airs on Friday, February 3rd, 18.15 pm GMT + 1. 2017 in radio and TV broadcasts by EénVandaag.