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On Thursday 3 November 2022, the Prague Cyber Security Conference, the largest event of the National Cyber and Information Security Agency (NÚKIB) within the framework of the Czech Presidency of the EU Council, took place in the Prague Congress Centre. The conference, which took place in a hybrid format, was a successor of the traditional Prague 5G Security Conference held in previous years. In total, over 500 cyber security experts from more than 80 countries attended the event. Approximately two dozen speakers consisted of both Czech and foreign statesmen, leading EU and NATO representatives and delegates from Asia. The discussion was mainly focused on supply chain security and new technologies, as this topic is also one of the priorities of the Czech Presidency. The event was a part of the two-day EU Secure and Innovative Digital Future Conference, which NÚKIB co-organised with the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Office of the Government and in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"A secure digital future requires strong cyber defence but also much more. It requires secure infrastructure, reliable partners, and resilient supply chains. That is what Europe is working on," said the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen in her opening speech. Additionally, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, Estonian Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology Kristjan Järvan, Australian Minister of Home Affairs and Minister for Cyber Security Clare O'Neil and NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană spoke in a similar vein. NÚKIB Director Lukáš Kintr, as a representative of the main event’s organiser, stated in his speech: "We need to re-evaluate our thinking, clarify our European strategy and strengthen the resilience of our digital backbone in the long term. A connected Europe will only be as secure as the technologies on which it is built."

Panel discussions focused on the security of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) supply chain

The opening speeches were followed by a series of four panel discussions where experts from different parts of the world discussed the security of ICT supply chains, their evolution, challenges, implications and solutions. The panels followed up on the recently adopted Council conclusions, which emphasised the importance of this topic among all EU countries. To handle the challenges that this issue poses to democratic countries, the exchange of good experiences is essential. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has shown the possible consequences of dependency on unreliable suppliers, who do not share Western values and interests. Given the dependency of today's society on ICT, the consequences of such crisis in this sector would be much more serious for our society. The speakers of the conference agreed that cooperation with national and international partners, as well as between governments, academia and the private sector, is crucial for building a resilient and secure infrastructure based on trusted technologies. Furthermore, experts mentioned the need for diversity of providers to ensure their reliable and secure functioning which is absolutely essential for our society, the state and other regional actors.

The first day of the EU Secure and Innovative Digital Future Conference was concluded with speeches by the Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Jan Lipavský, and the NÚKIB Director Lukáš Kintr, who not only thanked the participants and the organisers of the Prague Cyber Security Conference, but also stressed the need for critical information infrastructure protection, for international cooperation and for an immediate focus on the security of the entire ICT supply chain ecosystem.

Bilateral meetings were also held during the Conference

Events such as the Prague conference also present opportunities for formal and informal meetings, where it is possible to share information and practical experience with partners and allies. Among others, representatives of NÚKIB met with delegations from Australia and the United States of America. While Director Kintr discussed national infrastructure resilience and education with the Australian Minister-Counsellor of the Department of Home Affairs for Europe Jaycob McMahon, he and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security representative Irang Kahangama had a discussion about joint exercises and enhanced information sharing with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. Supply chain security was a common topic for both sessions, as well as for the entire conference.