Lithuania bars data center project over fears of Russian spying
Andrius Sytas, Reuters, Jan 9 2017
Lithuania, at the front line of growing tension between the West and Russia, barred construction of a data center last year over concerns it could be infiltrated by Russian intelligence, a Lithuanian security official said on Monday. He said the government acted on concerns about plans by Arcus Novus, the Lithuanian-registered construction firm, to develop a data center to be rented out to businesses for cloud computer operations. Lithuania’s counter-intelligence spox said:
We warned the government that once the data center is connected by fiber-optic cable to Russia, it could be linked by the FSB to its radio electronic reconnaissance network. The government acted on that information.
Arcus Novus is now suing the government in an effort to overturn the decision, according to Vidmantas Tomkus, the company’s CEO and a minority shareholder, who said:
It’s a bit laughable to claim that a ‘hostile’ data center would be connected to Russian security services, as Lithuania is already connected to Russia through fiber-optic cables, as is the rest of the world.
Fears for cyber-security are growing in the three small Baltic republics. Russian hackers are seen as the greatest threat to Lithuanian national security, its counter-intelligence agency said in a report last year. The Lithuanian cyber-security chief told Reuters earlier that three cases of Russian spyware had been discovered in government computers since 2015, and there had been 20 attempts to infect them in 2016. A 2014 law allows the Lithuanian government to block any investment in energy, transport, information technology and finance that it finds threatening to its national security. The State Security Dept said that it advised the government to block four such investments in 2015, including a proposed expansion at Vilnius airport by a Lithuanian businessman who is also developing an airport near Moscow.