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Právo: State lacks experts to guarantee its cyber security

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Prague, June 6 (CTK) – World powers silently gather sensitive data about state bodies, but Czech authorities lack trustworthy experts who would protect their online systems against possible hacking attacks, daily Pravo writes yesterday, citing Ales Spidla, the author of the Czech cyber security strategy.
“The Czech police have quality experts, but there are not enough of them. It is hard to find computer experts for the security forces. The private sector offers very different pay to these specialists,” said Spidla, currently responsible for risk control of the Czech branch of the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) consulting company.
He said the lack of experts was a problem all over the world. The FBI gave very interesting offers to hackers to persuade them into cooperating, he added.
Spidla said it is very good that the Czech Republic recently agreed with Israel on the sharing of data on cyber security because the Israelis are trained by their permanent fight.
In Israel, loyalty and trustworthiness are not such a problem like in other countries as the experts know one another from the army and they do not mind working for the authorities, he told the paper.
Spidla said Israeli experts took part in the building of a cyber security training centre in Ritka near Prague.
From time to time, powers such as Russia and China test their abilities to create chaos by cyber attacks, he indicated.
Spidla said a whole military division deals with cyber attacks and espionage in China and along with its auxiliary teams it has roughly 50,000 people. It is said that about 12,000 experts work as hackers for the Russian state in a centre in Voronezh.
Cyber attacks in Georgia and Estonia can be traced to Russia, he said.
It is advantageous to cause chaos before the outbreak of a real war. Several weeks before an armed conflict in Georgia, the president’s website became totally confused and the information and communication systems of the state authorities repeatedly failed, Spidla said.
A cyber attack may easily rock society and discredit government institutions. “It suffices to block the system for the payment of welfare benefits for several weeks. However, the most sensitive are the power industry, gas pipelines, water management, information systems, he said.
Spidla said hackers for example changed the direction of the flow of gas in a pipeline from Azerbaijan to make it flow across Russia. It took two week to reverse the flow again, he told the paper.
Two viruses were recently revealed in the information systems of a German nuclear power plant. They apparently spied for several years and one of them was most active in 2008. The viruses actively sent information, but it is unclear to whom, Spidla said.
Systems that control various industrial technologies appear more and more often, he said, referring to a case of a German furnace that had to be turned off due to a hacking attack on its control systems.
Medical facilities are likely to be included in the critical infrastructure soon and they will have to adopt new security measures,” Spidla said.
Hospitals have millions of sensitive data and even organised crime groups have shown interest in them. Hackers recently blocked a patient database of an American hospital, which had to pay them money to be able to restart the database, Pravo writes.

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