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September 28, 2020

CommMin Sova: Romanian Internet users know very little about how to defend against cyber attacks

Romania has many Internet users, but they are very little prepared to defend themselves from such cyber attacks, Lucian Sova, the Minister of Communications and Information Society on Tuesday explained at the opening event of the cyber security course organized by the Romanian National Computer Security Incident Response Team (CERT-RO) and AGERPRES.

“One of the main pillars of our Ministry is CERT-RO. Ever since I came to the Ministry, I had a series of substantial discussions with the CERT staff. I had my suspicions, which are also that of the civil society, but the CERT representatives succeeded to clarify everything for me. I am one of the supporters of the fight against cyber aggression and CERT-RO is the most suitable to carry out this fight, according to the European model. In Romania there are many Internet users, but they know too little about how to defend themselves in case of cyber attacks. And this became clear especially over the past year when more serious such cyber attacks took place. We all know that the online environment is very present in the urban areas, but unfortunately there is no cyber culture yet and no digital economy, which is a concept even newer than what ITC itself means,” said Sova.


 Over 170 localities to have broadband Internet by year-end, due to Ro-Net project


He also announced that more  than 170 localities in the rural area will have access to broadband Internet by the end of this year, due to the Ro-Net project, the Minister of Communications and Information Society.

“Unfortunately, in the rural area, there are many “white areas”, as we call them. Our Ministry has managed to unblock Ro-Net, so that we have Internet access, as we spoke, in some of the very poor rural areas, which are uninteresting from a commercial viewpoint for the specific communications developers. We estimate that, by the end of the year, two bands will have signal, together with the statutory undertaker, Telekom. There will be more than 170 localities with signal of 780 and they are to be connected to broadband Internet, under this programme benefiting from European funds. There will be access ensured to the most 780 isolated areas of Romania,” said the Minister of Communications.

Moreover, Lucian Sova underlined that, right now, there are certain debates at the level of the relevant ministry focusing on the implementation of the NIS Directive (Directive on security of network and information systems), “which establishes a legal cyber defense framework at a European level but also in Romania.”

Ro-Net is a major project financed with European structural funds. Late in May, the European Commission decided to modify this project and split it into two stages. The total approved value for the first stage of the project is 18.8 million euros, out of which 12.5 million represent co-financing via the European Fund for Regional Development. The project’s budget for the second stage is 53 million euros.

According to the Ministry of Communications and Information Society (MCSI), “RO-Net will cover 783 of the 2,268 localities identified as ‘white zones,’ which will help reducing the digital gap between the urban and rural areas, with broadband Internet to be brought closer to 130,000 households, with more than 400,000 people, 8,500 enterprises and 2,800 public institutions.” The two operators designated to implement the projects, after a tender organized by the Ministry of Communications and Information Society, are Telekom Communications and Telekom Mobile.

CERT-RO organises, alongside AGERPRES, a cyber security course over August 22-24, dedicated to journalists. The participants will get familiar with specific cases and the existing legislative notions in Romania and at international level in the field of cyber security.

The course will include cyber security elements from the perspective of the attacker and user, but also protection and anonymisation measures. The main objective of the course is to raise awareness among journalists in regard to attacks in the cyber space, as well as possible protection lines, facilitating the correct information of the public.

The Romanian National Computer Security Incident Response – CERT-RO is a public institution responsible for preventing, analyzing, identifying and reacting to cyber infrastructure related incidents, which ensure the functionalities of public utility or services of the information society.

Founded in 1889, AGERPRES is Romania’s National News Agency. It’s role is to offer balanced and impartial information and to constitute the main source of information for citizens and institutions in Romania and also the most important source of news about Romania abroad.

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