Cybersecurity policies, issues such as cyber threats and vulnerabilities, identification of opportunities for international and regional collaboration as well as exchanging good practices in this domain are the main topics of the three-day Regional Cybersecurity Summit that started on Monday morning at the Parliament Palace in Bucharest.
Organized by the Ministry for Information Society along with the US Department of Commerce and the US Embassy’s Commercial Service, the Summit has brought together companies and government officials, public and private sector cybersecurity specialists from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine, United States of America and Romania .
At the same time, the US Department of Commerce and the US Embassy’s Commercial Service are organizing a trade mission in Bucharest in order to present the latest solutions that American companies can offer in this domain. Summit participants will have the possibility to engage in bilateral talks with cybersecurity experts and leaders of the companies represented: Cask, Cisco Systems, Creative Information Technology, CSC, CyberPoint International, Data Locker, F5 Networks, Fidelis Cybersecurity Solutions, FireEye, General Dynamics Information Technology, Glimmerglass Cyber Solutions, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Information Unlimited Inc., Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, WhiteHat Security.
PM Ponta: In this complicated region, Romania represents stronghold of security, stability and predictability
Prime Minister Victor Ponta, on Monday, in the opening of the Regional Cyber Security Summit, said that Romania represents a stronghold of security in a complicated region, where difficult wars are being carried out, especially in the energy area.
“In this complicated region, where Romania represents a stronghold of security, stability, predictability, we have a few wars we are carrying out at the same time. Fortunately, there aren’t conventional wars, as is unfortunately happening in the east of Ukraine and in other areas, but there are wars that are as difficult. We have, in the first place, a war in energy and I was often saying that the main weapon of the Russian Federation in this war isn’t represented by aircraft or tanks or missiles, but is represented by gas and energy with which they can blackmail the region and Europe,” Ponta said at the Palace of Parliament.
In what concerns cyber security, the Prime Minister pointed out that cyberattacks take place every minute, but there are specialists who manage to block them.
“Each minute, each second there are attacks on the data systems, on the advanced technological, communication systems, which some people, whom you never see on TV, whom the press doesn’t write about, but who exist (…) and manage to block, providing us the capacity of using the internet and the television and the control system of air and railways transports,” Ponta maintained.
The Prime Minister underscored the importance of the partnership between Romania and the USA in ensuring the cyber security.
“The opportunity we now have to collaborate and be together with the world leader, namely the US government, the US companies, is an enormous opportunity that we want to make the most of. I am giving guarantees to all present that together the United States of America – Romania (…) we can build a safer world and an environment in which our security, but also economic development should not live each second under the threat, under the danger of a cyberattack,” Ponta added.
Bruce Andrews: Romania became a leader in information technology; Romanian, the second language spoken in Microsoft offices
Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews, who is leading the U.S trade mission represented by 20 top American players on the global IT market, said the United States sees great opportunities for collaboration in the critical field of cybersecurity.
“With so much of our lives connected to the Internet – from our critical infrastructure and national security systems to our cars and bank accounts – we know the urgency of addressing these new and growing cyber threats. Against this backdrop, there are many emerging opportunities to partner with our strong ally Romania to create a more secure cyberspace,” Andrews showed in the opening of his remarks addressed to the Regional Cybersecurity Summit.
“Romania is on the front lines of the growing cyber conflict threat in the region. In the first half of 2014, the Romanian National Computer Security Incident Response Team issued 54,000 alerts – up from 44,000 alerts in all of 2013.
We in the United States face this same threat, and we are eager to collaborate with you to face this emerging danger,” Bruce Andrews added.
“I believe that one of the best ways we can help Romania protect its critical infrastructure from hostile invaders is through the innovative technologies provided by America’s world-class IT companies – including those with us here today”.
The US Deputy Secretary of Commerce emphasized that Romania has already proven itself to be a world leader in information technology and showed that firms here are breaking new ground around the world. For example, he said, “the Romanian company Bitdefender recently released one of the first security products made specifically for home networks: “Bitdefender Box.”
“This revolutionary technology is essentially antivirus software for your home – protecting all of your devices by scanning network traffic to detect and block potential security threats.
Your expertise in this area has not gone unnoticed by American companies. Romanian is now the second most spoken language – after English – in Microsoft offices around the world.
Because of the combination of technical sophistication and language skills of your people, major U.S. companies like IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Oracle have established regional offices here.
Without a doubt, our IT sectors are already collaborating and working together – but there is much room for growth,” the US Deputy Secretary of Commerce maintained.
“ I’ve brought with me on this trade mission 20 of America’s top cybersecurity companies, ranging in size and specialization. These firms are all industry leaders – providing cutting-edge technologies, products, and services all over the globe.
Some have operated in Romania for decades, while others are looking to do business here for the first time. All of them – working alongside Romania’s own top notch IT companies – can help you achieve your security and economic goals,” Bruce Andrews showed.
“But in order for this to happen, it is critical that we do not implement laws and regulations that harm cybersecurity, impede interoperability, and hinder innovation.
We are seeing a rising wave of digital protectionism and digital nationalism around the world, in which governments enact laws and policies to benefit their domestic industries.
These actions – in the guise of economic and security regulations – limit economic growth by denying citizens and businesses access to the best technologies in the world,” he added.
According to the US Deputy secretary of Commerce, in order to prevent future cyber-attacks, government and industry must work together to evolve and meet our shared challenges.
“On behalf of the United States Government, we greatly value our close relationship with Romania, and we are committed to strengthening bilateral commercial ties between our countries,” Bruce Andrews also told the Regional Cybersecurity Summit.
“Cybersecurity is a perfect example of a sector in which we can work together to increase national and economic security, create jobs, and provide mutual prosperity for both our economies.
Together, I am confident that we can provide leadership to enhance cybersecurity capabilities across Central and Southeast Europe,” Mr. Andrews concluded.
Minister Grindeanu: Cybersecurity, trust in public services, national Gov’t priorities
Cybersecurity and trust in public services are a national priority with the Romanian Government, and in the current context, Romania is advocating the adoption of a new legislative package that regards personal data protection, Romania’s Minister of Information Society Sorin Grindeanu told the Regional Cybersecurity Summit hosted by Parliament Palace in Bucharest.
“Romania aims to develop a dynamic information environment based on the interoperability of information society systems and services, to introduce security measures designed to increase protection of cyberinfrastructure in accordance with the European and international regulations in force while also respecting the regulatory framework that regards the protection of the citizens’ rights and freedoms. Cybersecurity and trust in public services are a national priority for the Romanian Government. (…) Romania is advocating the passage of a new legislative framework for personal data protection, which requires not just the consolidation and detailing of the right of the persons in question, but also the obligations incumbent on those who process personal data,” said Grindeanu.
He added that the level of the European citizens’ trust in online services is not encouraging, particularly because they have to reveal too much personal data.
“Citizens’ trust in online services can be consolidated by ensuring a high degree of cybersecurity, and also by improved transparency and efficiency. Yet, not be overlooked is the fact that as many as 72 per cent of Europe’s Internet users are currently voicing reservations over the use of online services, especially e-commerce services, because they feel they have too much personal data to reveal, which means we should emphasise ensuring confidentiality, authenticity and availability of such data,” the minister added.
On the other hand, Grindeanu said the ongoing cybersecurity summit meeting in Bucharest will witness two important moments: the initialling of a joint declaration on cybersecurity cooperation in the region, as well as the release of a pilot project for a Centre for Cybersecurity Innovation.
Leaders of Romania’s political parties met President Klaus Iohannis on May 6 to sign a parliamentary initiative amending and supplementing Law 506/2004 concerning the processing of personal data and privacy protection in electronic communications. The initiative does not concern the cybersecurity law or Law 82/2012 concerning the retention of data generated or processed in connection with the provision of publicly available electronic communications services or of public communications networks, which has been ruled unconstitutional.
“The project agreed upon is designed to provide additional guarantee for the protection of personal data and the right to privacy and also to bring some clarifications to eliminate any risk for abuse. Thus, accessing personal data will be possible only within a framework strictly delineated by court or based on prior approval from a judge. This principle was also demanded by civil society representatives and shared by all the people involved,” the Presidential Administration reported at the time.
Defence Minister Dusa: There is a cybersecurity partnership between Pentagon and Romania’s Defence Ministry
The US experience with cybersecurity is already used by the relevant Romanian organisations, Defence Minister Mircea Dusa told a regional cybersecurity summit meeting in Bucharest on Monday.
“Defence cooperation in the area of cybersecurity between Pentagon and the Defence Ministry as well as other security organisations of Romania has taken a step forward. There is a partnership in this sense, and US support and experience with cybersecurity have already been used by Government organisations operating in national security for the protection of information systems in Romania as well as of similar systems inside NATO and the European Union,” said Dusa., quoted by Agerpres.
He added that as far as defence cooperation is concerned, measures have been taken to protect national systems, as well as NATO systems that are interoperable with the national systems of NATO and EU member states.
“As an immediate response to cyber aggression, specialists have sought to define new cyber defence solutions, which materialised in a comprehensive set of offensive and defensive actions,” said Dusa.
Foreign Minister Aurescu: Strengthening of information exchange in the region needed for dealing with cyberattacks
Foreign Affairs Minister Bogdan Aurescu on Monday voiced the need to strengthen the cooperation and the information exchange among the states in the region, for the entire area to be able to deal with the cyberattacks that “could lead to political-military conflicts.”
“The US commerce mission in the area of cybersecurity in this period, as well as the regional summit tomorrow come in an appropriate context for our country and for the region. Romania now has the chance to use this special opportunity to act as a connection element between the United States and the countries in the region, as facilitator for the development of projects with regional impact in the area of cyber security,” Aurescu said at the Palace of Parliament, within the Regional Cyber Security Summit.
He showed that the regional summit will lay the foundations of cooperation in the region directed at increasing the efforts for the consolidation of capacities in the cyber area.
“The final objective for Romania is to become a regional leader in cybersecurity. More than ever it is necessary to strengthen the cooperation and the information exchange among the states in the region in order to deal with the cyberattacks that could lead to political-military conflicts,” the Romanian diplomacy head added.
According to Agerpres, the Minister explained that in the current international context, now more than ever, the cybersecurity risks are increasing and Romania might be a target of state cyberattacks or extremist-terrorist attacks backed by an ideological motivation.
Bogdan Aurescu also presented the objectives which Bucharest set within the summit.
“We planned two important objectives and dimensions for this summit. On the one hand, the promotion of cooperation in the region, on the other hand, the information exchange in the cybersecurity area. Cooperation will truly be more efficient only if all participants are willing to share the information they have. In respect to the security incidents, the data exchange among the member states so far has been carried out on informal basis or within some regulated bilateral exchanges and the exercises in the cybersecurity area are still in an embryonic stage,” the dignitary stated.
Deputy PM Oprea: Romanian gov’t is fully committed to the fight against cybercrime
Deputy PM Gabriel Oprea at the Regional Cybersecurity Summit on Monday held at the Parliament Palace in Bucharest said that the government is fully committed to the fight against cybercrime, a phenomenon that can generate risks including to national security.
“The Romanian government, as well as myself personally and the leadership of the Home Affairs Ministry are committed to the fight against cybercrime, a phenomenon that generates very many risks, vulnerabilities, crisis against the national security. As far as we are concerned, the Ministry of Home Affairs pays a special attention to active cooperation in the organized crime field, especially in dismantling organized crime rings that commit offenses in the cybercrime area,” said Oprea.
In his speech at the Summit, he appreciated the good cooperation between the Romanian policemen and the FBI agents, and also the “significant” contribution Romanian brings at the Europol level in the cyber security field.
“Romania, through its actions, represents a pillar of stability and security in the region. I want to highlight both the assumption by our country of the role of a coordinating nation of the NATO Cyber Security Trust Fund for Ukraine and our interest in becoming the nodal point in this field in the region,” said the Deputy PM.
On the other hand, Gabriel Oprea showed that Bucharest remains “a strong promoter of the strengthening of transatlantic relations as a national, regional vector of democracy, stability and security.”