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Denmark to ramp up cyber security efforts - defense minister

COPENHAGEN, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Denmark intends to invest to boost efforts to prevent cyber attacks in a strategy to be presented early next year, its defense minister said on Tuesday.

"We are going to spend more money in this area," Claus Hjort Frederiksen told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference in Copenhagen, though he declined to disclose a figure.

Cyber security is "very high on the agenda" for the right-leaning government, but also for the broad selection of Danish political parties negotiating a new defense strategy for the coming six years, he said.

The government would like to expand an early warning system with sensors that detects when Danish companies or authorities are under attack from, for example, malware.

"To some degree we do have a system today, but we would like to expand it to the strategic infrastructure and to private companies," he told Reuters.

The government also wants to increase the preventive capacity at the Danish center for cyber security to increase its ability to better catch and inform about imminent cyber threats, he said.

World's no.1 container shipper and one of Denmark's largest companies Maersk was hit by major cyber attack in June, one of the biggest-ever disruptions to hit global shipping.

The government also works for a deeper cooperation between authorities and private companies in battling cyber attacks, Frederiksen said.

He said he believed companies were sometimes reluctant to inform they had been hit by cyber attacks, because they were afraid to scare off customers or investors.

Frederiksen said he saw the overall cyber threat as "one of the greatest threats of our time."

"If you can undermine our democratic nations by hacking the energy systems or the communication systems or the financial systems it will undermine our own people's belief in our societies' ability to protect them," he said.

Russia hacked the Danish defense network and gained access to employees' emails in 2015 and 2016, Frederiksen said in April.

Danish troops will get training in how to deal with Russian misinformation before being sent to join a NATO military build-up in Estonia in January, Frederiksen said in July.

(Editing by Richard Balmforth)