International Conference: Cyber Security and National Defense

Date of event: 28.5. 2015

The event took place on May 28 in the atrium of the CEVRO Institute. The main partners of the conference were IBM Czech Republic and RWE Česká republika.

The PCTR director Alexander Vondra opened the conference. The first speaker was General Petr Pavel, former Chief of Staff of the Army and elected Chairman of the NATO Military Committee. Gen. Pavel began his speech with the emergence of hybrid war and then devoted himself extensively to the phenomenon of “cyberwar”. Gen. Petr Pavel, among other things, said that NATO is debating whether a cyber-attack is to be considered as a reason for the activation of Art. 5 of NATO’s Washington Treaty. In other words, if it can be seen as equal to a conventional attack.

Following that, Daniel Koštoval, the Deputy Minister of Defense, spoke not only about cybersecurity on the Alliance level but also on the national level. Daniel Koštoval said that it is necessary to ensure the protection of the population in cooperation with the private sector. Mr Koštoval claimed that the Czech Republic may soon become one of the leaders in this field. Another speaker, Dušan Navratil (the Director of the National Security Office), said that the Czech Republic is still strengthening its ability to defend itself against cyber-attacks and he also added that the private sector and public sector have to work closely together.

The last speaker of the first part of the program was Bruce Wynn (Air Commodore – ret., Cyber Advisor and Consultant). He focused on cybersecurity in the private sector, but also its relationship to the public sector. Furthermore, he stated that it is necessary for this field to think as a criminal would that means in context – it is necessary to be ready = who is prepared, is not surprised. He spoke about problems associated with the alienation of personal data and cooperation between the London and New York police.

After the first break, another speech followed, this time by Dmitry Adamski from Israeli IDC in Herzliya. He dealt with the emergence of potential Russian hybrid and Information Warfare and compared it with NATO member states. D. Adamski, among other things, said that we are at the beginning of a new era in which war will be fought in cyberspace, and all powers, including Russia, are trying to learn how to use this new capability. Prof. Šarunas Liekis from Vilnius University further developed Adamski’s speech as he spoke about specific threats from Russia to the Baltic States. He further noted that the major IT pioneer in the Baltics is Estonia, where residents literally live under the supervision of “big brother”. The last speaker of the second part of the program was Daniel Bagge from the Czech National Security Office, who spoke about the challenges that the Czech Republic is facing.

The last panel began with John Palfreyman from IBM, who spoke about the so-called cybercrime and explained what are the latest threats we face and how they evolved. The penultimate speaker was Aleš Špidla, who spoke about the vulnerability of ISCS / SCADA systems, which are used in strategic and industrial sectors. He stated that the aim of the attackers is to knock out strategic targets and cause destruction, damage or even loss of lives, and disruption of order (it is sufficient for the attacker to, for example, insert deliberately erroneous data into the information chain).

The last speaker was Ofir Hason from the Israeli CyberGym, who focused on cyber warfare from the perspective of the Israelis. According to Mr Hason, important are the role of secret services and cooperation between public and private sectors, which in practice may even collaborate with the secret service (in the case of CyberGym – Shin Bet). He also added that the weakest link in the chain is the human factor. Finally, he said that an attack on critical infrastructure has to always be conducted by coordinated groups (perhaps a state) – it is not to be expected from individuals.

The conference concluded with a final word by the Chairman of the Board of the CEVRO Institute, Ivan Langer.

We also thank you for support CyberGym, Vytautas Magnus University in Vilnius and the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) at the university IDC Herzliya.