The Slovenia Times

Europe's common cyber security should be boosted


Slovenian Public Administration Minister Boštjan Koritnik opened the panel by saying that building resilient European infrastructure was the key. "We must work together to protect our countries from malicious cyber activity."

According to him, the protection of public services is based on sustainable European digital infrastructure, and it is necessary to strengthen international cooperation, which is why he is looking forward to the emerging European cyber security unit.

The only other in-person speaker at the event, which was true to its title as the rest of the speakers joined in on-line, was Karel Rehka, the director of the Czech National Cyber and Information Security Authority.

He noted that in his country, there was a significant increase in attempted and real cyber attacks during the Covid-19 pandemic, most of them on hospitals, and that was a real healthcare problem.

Rehka added it was quite an interesting lesson and that cyber security of the health sector had become the one priority of our prime minister. "This was the biggest wakeup call in terms of cyber security."

In this respect, Casper Klynge, the vice-president for European government affairs of Microsoft, said that cooperation between the private and public sectors was on the rise, and that digitalisation was not an option, but "something you have to do".

"Responsibility of the private sector is increasing," he said, adding cyber security was more important than ever before, and that the first line responders were digital companies which have the most information about cyber attacks.

European Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) executive director Juhan Lepassaar noted that incidents and attacks during the pandemic had not been fixed on one sector, but hospitals and research institutions were the initial target.

Lepassaar believes that Europe has been able to build up a security framework and find strategies to raise the overall level of security - individual member states have taken action and raised their capabilities, and national and European actors have built stronger mechanisms.

Taking a look from the US perspective, Richard Harknett of the University of Cincinnati and co-director of the Ohio Cyber Range Institute, said that cyberspace was about strategic competition rather than conflict.

For him, the "core question is how to manage competition" and how to "anticipate the exploitation of vulnerability and take away the attack before it happens", which requires a whole of nation, plus framework.

Arne Schönbohm, the president of the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), opened the question of what is the proper level of information security, and stressed that a precondition for successful digitalisation was information security.

Heli Tiirmaa-Klaar, the ambassador for cyber diplomacy at the Estonian Foreign Ministry, spoke about responsible state behaviour in cyberspace, saying that the starting point was states observing the existing international law.

"We have not seen cyber incidents that have exceeded the threshold of armed conflict," she said, while adding that diplomats were also planning deterrent activities, and that there was hope that state behaviours would become more predictable.


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