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Balkans capacity towards cyber defense

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    Predrag TASEVSKI

Following texts is captured interview for YATA Comments of the week video

My name is Predrag Tasevski and I’m an independent cyber security researcher from Macedonia.

When we talk about Balkan region it is actually neither one step further nor one step backwards regarding cyber threats and cyber security. And at the same time progression of ICT is improving the connectivity and its utilities from the rest of the world. For this reason discussing about cyber defense and security capacity in the region is in fact crucial and important topic. However before we continue we have to understand the difference between IT security and cyber security. IT security is to protect business and individual assets, whereas cyber security it involved IT security as well as national, state security and security of Critical Information Infrastructure point of view. To be able to have safer cyber space, we need to take an actions. Such as, ratifying conventions for instance Budapest Convention, moreover, adapting legal framework with international and of course social society needs. Than pursue establishment of National Bodies that will deal with occurrence and the frequency of cyberspace attacks and threats. And last but not least, develop national cyber security strategy. Among the mentioned actions, also important is to take into consideration the general approaches, as multi stakeholders and multi-level approach. Cyberspace could not be 100% secured, therefore each country should introduce national cyber security culture and at the same time raising the awareness level to the weakest link in cyber security - that is the human behaviors. Moreover, when we discuss about the cyber security and defense another important questions should be raised, by providing of course and answers: Who? determines the target of who you are planning to secure. What? determines the content of what to secure. How? is the means by how you are going to secure it.

Turning back to Balkan vision toward cyber defense and security, we might say that several countries a much further progressing, such as Slovenia, Croatia, Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia & Herzegovina, in contrast to slowly progressing countries: Macedonia, Serbia and etc. Nevertheless, the region has taken under the umbrella and understood the importance of such topics and for this reason are taking hence actions. Such actions are as we mentioned previously making their legal framework compliance with the international perspectives. And establishing national bodies to react and countermeasure the incident occurred in cyberspace. And finally establishing national cyber security strategy.

And in the end I would like to provide recommendation actions that could help other countries in pursuing and capacity building towards cyber defense and security. Such as:

  1. Understand cyber defense from a global perspective, don't feel nervous and foolish when it comes to the word “Cyber”. Use common and simple language that everyone could understand it.
  2. Define and implement a national cyber security/defence strategy, followed by cyber security frameworks by supporting it initiatives and international cooperation.
  3. Develop public awareness, cyber security culture and education that will touch entire population needs.
  4. Improve resilience against cyber terrorism, cyber espionage, hybrid war and cyber warfare by sharing knowledge, documents, continues education and training, military and non-military capabilities.
  5. Enforcing ICT infrastructures security in order to obtain confidence and security in the use of ICT. By investing in research and development.
  6. And finally, continuance of public meetings and networking are in fact needed and essential on yearly basis for secure cyber space.

“The first step toward encouraging security and defence is awareness, followed by the implementation, acceptance and so forth”