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Selected News

NÚKIB Representatives Co-Organized a Cyber Security Exercise in Albania

On 3 April 2024, a cyber exercise was held in Tirana, Albania, which was designed as an interactive, non-technical tabletop exercise aimed at high-level decision-makers, including security and strategic communication experts. The National Cyber and Information Security Agency (NÚKIB) was represented by Irena Adler Pavelková and Miroslava Čavojská from the Exercise Unit, who were directly involved in the preparation of the exercise scenario, its presentation, and moderation of the discussion among the participants. The exercise was organized within the framework of the EU Cybersecurity Capacity Building in the Western Balkans, which the Estonian governmental organization e-Governance Academy led in cooperation with the Dutch non-profit organization CILC.

In collaboration with colleagues from the Albanian National Authority for Electronic Certification and Cyber Security (AKCESK), a scenario was prepared for participants from various government institutions and bank representatives, including the Bank of Albania. The scenario focused on the escalating cyber crisis in the banking sector and highlighted the multidimensional nature of cyber threats. One of the objectives of the simulation was to discuss Albania's new cybersecurity legislation and to focus on cooperation and crisis communication between the institutions involved. The cyber exercise was also attended by the Deputy Prime Minister of Albania, Bellinda Balluku, who expressed her support for the project while emphasizing the importance of cyber security and increasing the resilience of the whole society in cyberspace.

Experts from all over the world discussed security issues at the NÚKIB conference

The impact of artificial intelligence on cybersecurity, the protection of subsea cables from cyber threats and foreign interference, cyber warfare, and the fight against organized cybercriminal groups were the key topics of this year's Prague Cyber Security Conference (PCSC). The event, organized by the National Cyber and Information Security Agency (NÚKIB) in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, brought foreign guests and government officials from more than sixty countries to Prague, not only from European Union and NATO but also e.g. from Australia, Israel, South Korea, and Singapore. More than 300 visitors were listening with interest to panel discussions at the Congress Centre of the Czech National Bank on 19 and 20 March 2024.

The event was opened with a greeting recorded for the PCSC participants by the President of the Czech Republic, Petr Pavel: "The Prague Cyber Security Conference aims to stimulate debate and bring us closer together in addressing the challenges we face. I believe this discussion will contribute to the future of cybersecurity not only in the Czech Republic but the whole democratic world." President Pavel's speech was followed by a speech by European Commission Vice-President Eva Jourová, who highlighted the threat of malware and said that international cooperation is needed to strengthen cybersecurity. Anne Neuberger from the USA, Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology, also addressed the same topic in her speech, highlighting the International Counter Ransomware Initiative in the context of malware and thanking partners, including the Czech Republic, for being part of it.

The conference's guests were then personally welcomed by the Director of NÚKIB, Lukáš Kintr: "This conference represents more than just a series of discussions; it is a convergence of expertise and ideas focused on bolstering global cybersecurity resilience." In his speech, the Director of the Agency talked about the need to adapt to changes in the cybersecurity landscape: "The dramatically altered global security situation requires us to act now, for yesterday was already late. We must change our approach to dangerous actors and security to meet the new challenges in cyberspace. In light of the ever-evolving challenges, this conference serves as an important platform to discuss and share experiences and knowledge, promote international cooperation, and advocate for innovative solutions."

The discussion program began with a session in which participants recalled the 2019 Prague Proposals on 5G network security, five years since their creation and adoption, a significant milestone in global efforts to ensure the security of next-generation networks. Other panel discussions on both days focused on cyber and information security areas. Thus, the debates were exceptionally responsive to the growing diversity of threats in cyberspace and the emerging opportunities associated with the development of new technologies. For example, the security of subsea cables, which carry almost all internet data worldwide and whose potential damage could significantly affect the functioning of critical infrastructure, was discussed. Artificial intelligence was also a topic, and the Western world is now catching up with its development and looking for ways to address opportunities and risks associated with it. The discussion included the Artificial Intelligence Act, which was adopted by the European Union a few days ago.

One of the items on the agenda was cloud security, which has recently become one of the critical topics of transatlantic cooperation. Speakers on this panel brought different perspectives from both government and industry. There was also a discussion on post-quantum technologies. The security community is keenly aware that with the upcoming breakthrough in quantum computing, current encryption methods used to secure sensitive information will become potentially vulnerable, necessitating the development and transition to quantum-resistant cryptography. Therefore, the debate focused on strategies for post-quantum encryption, challenges related to timing and standardization, and opportunities for international collaboration between governments, research, and industry partners. The last panel focused on one of today's most significant cyber threats: ransomware, which requires a truly comprehensive approach to tackle. Evidence of the seriousness of this threat and the need to counter it includes a joint statement against ransom payments in ransomware attacks. The Czech Republic joined it along with more than 40 other countries in November 2023.

At the end of the conference, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský said: "Today, as we conclude the Prague Conference on Cyber Security, we see that critical infrastructure security is more urgent than ever. The cyber world is a battlefield where we face many challenges. Collaboration with like-minded partners is key to ensuring we do not lose the technology race. Another is working closely with the private sector. After all, we are all part of this effort to shape the future of a free and democratic world."

Cybersecurity can only be done through international cooperation, and conferences are an excellent opportunity to hold bilateral meetings - this was the same at PCSC. Representatives of NÚKIB used the event to meet with delegations from NATO, South Korea, Taiwan, USA, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Belgium, Croatia and Lithuania. Collaboration with the private sector is also essential in cybersecurity, which is why NÚKIB also held meetings with several private sector representatives during the conference.

This year, the Prague conference was opened to the private sector for the first time. Its role in the context of cybersecurity is becoming increasingly relevant. "Today, we can no longer ignore the importance and potential of cooperation with key players from the private sector. Only a society-wide approach and mutual synergy between the state and selected technology and cybersecurity companies is the only way forward. We need to progressively combine the strengths of the state, the private sector, and academia into one coordinated response to cyber threats nationally and internationally," said Director Lukáš Kintr on the topic of cross-sector collaboration.

Partners at this year's conference included Amazon Web Services, MSD, ICZ, Appsec, CISCO, and Mastercard. "For more than a decade, AWS has worked alongside governments and regulatory bodies across Europe to understand and meet their evolving needs in areas like cybersecurity, data privacy, and digital sovereignty. The multi-stakeholder exchanges at the Prague conference on cybersecurity underscore the vital importance of cooperation between governments, public institutions, and private organizations. Such collaboration drives innovation, and fosters resilience on the continent and globally," said Arnaud David, Director Public Policy EMEA, Digital and AI, at Amazon Web Services.


Historically First Cyber Dialogue Between the Czech Republic and the United States Will Strengthen Bilateral Cooperation

The inaugural United States - Czech Republic Cyber Dialogue, which was the largest-ever intergovernmental consultation between the Czech Republic and the United States on issues related to cybersecurity, was held on Monday, 18 March 2024 at the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Czernin Palace. The main topic of the meeting was the continuation and deepening cooperation not only in cybersecurity but also in the fight against cybercrime, building cyber defense, coordinating in cyber diplomacy or cooperation in digital policies and disruptive technologies, including artificial intelligence or quantum technologies. In addition to representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic and the National Cyber and Information Security Agency (NÚKIB), the closed consultations were also attended by representatives of the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of the Interior, the Supreme State Prosecutor's Office, the Czech Telecommunications Office, the National Centre against Terrorism, Extremism and Cybercrime of the Police of the Czech Republic, Ministry of Defense, the Cyber and Information Warfare Command of the Army of the Czech Republic and intelligence services.

A delegation headed by Deputy Director Pavel Štěpáník represented NÚKIB at the meeting. "The USA is a strategic partner for the Czech Republic, and this is also true in cyberspace. Establishing the cyber dialogue format demonstrates the growing importance of cybersecurity and related topics in our bilateral relations. The meeting was an opportunity to discuss in more detail with our US counterparts from federal agencies and institutions specific areas of cooperation, as well as current threats and challenges that we need to prepare for in light of the changing security environment not only as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine." Berta Jarošová, the Czech Cyber Attachée for the USA, was involved in the preparation and coordination of the first edition of the United States - Czech Republic Cyber Dialogue, which symbolically took place five years after the publication of the so-called Prague Proposals on 5G network security.

At the end of the Czech-American meeting, a joint declaration was adopted on deepening bilateral cooperation in specific areas, including strengthening information sharing between CERT teams, cybersecurity exercises, or challenges related to the impact of artificial intelligence on cybersecurity and in the area of post-quantum cryptography. The complete statement can be found here: Joint Statement on the Inaugural United States-Czech Republic Cyber Dialogue - United States Department of State

The Czech Republic has published a Position Paper on the Application of International Law in Cyberspace

Recognizing the urgent need to address challenges arising from the rapid growth of cyber capabilities and an increasing number of harmful cyber activities, the Czech Republic actively supports ongoing efforts to clarify how international law applies to cyberspace.

In order to contribute further to these efforts, the Czech Republic is pleased to publish its Position Paper on the Application of International Law in Cyberspace, outlining its current view on the application of certain provisions of international law to cyberspace. The document has been prepared in collaboration of NUKIB, Ministry of Affairs and Ministry of Defense of the Czech Republic.

Reaffirming that international law, including the United Nations Charter in its entirety, is applicable to State conduct in cyberspace and is essential for maintaining peace and stability in the ICT environment, the Czech Republic fully endorses an international order based on international law and considers it to be a fundamental element of the framework for responsible State behavior in cyberspace.

The released Position Paper aims to contribute to UN discussions, particularly within the context of the Czech Republic's participation in the current OEWG. The hope is that these discussions will foster a better common understanding of how international law applies in cyberspace, promoting responsible state behavior and contributing to a more stable, secure, open, accessible, and peaceful cyber environment.