Manchevski and Shekerinska: With synergy between the institutions and the business sector to greater cyber security

“The various institutions that must be prepared to strengthen the cyber security of the Republic of Macedonia have already agreed that they will jointly act and will not see the issue of cyber security as an individual issue where everyone is dealing with it by their own part. The Ministries of Defence, Information Society and Administration, and Interior have already formed joint teams whose task will be in alliance with NATO and the EU to produce a Strategy for Cyber Defence, for which we announce a strong partnership with the business sector and with the academic and civic sector”.

This was announced by the Minister of Defence of the Republic of Macedonia, Radmila Shekerinska, on today’s public debate on the topic “Policies for cyber security”, at the MPs Club, which was also addressed by the Minister of Information Society and Administration, Damjan Manchevski, as well as representatives of the Ministry of Interior and the Agency for Electronic Communications.

Minister Manchevski stressed that as a candidate country for EU membership, Macedonia has an obligation to harmonize its national legislation with the European one. He pointed several steps towards the adoption of a new Law on providing high level of security of networks and information systems, establishing a list of key operators, imposing a legal obligation for them to take measures to manage risks for the security of their networks and systems. The minister said there was a need to nominate a nationally competent supervisory body and the establishment of response teams for computer incidents. He added that in order to efficiently implement the obligations of these teams, human capacities are needed, as well as cooperation between the private sector and state institutions.

“This public debate is the first step that we are making and should open the cooperation to us as state institutions, companies and the whole society. We need to exchange knowledge, build capacities and raise awareness of information security”, concluded Minister Manchevski.

On the debate Minister Shekerinska stressed that the partnership with the business sector is especially important given the fact that the state administration lacks quality personnel, and has difficulties to retain them.

“The Ministry of Defence and the Government of the Republic of Macedonia gave the green light this year to the Military Academy in Skopje to start with postgraduate studies on cyber security, where persons from the business sector will be invited to enrol, and also scholarships will be provided to persons who work in the administration, and who we wish to specialize on cyber security”, the Minister said. He added that security has for long been a concept that does not primarily belong to the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Interior, that the main attacks are attacks on the infrastructure that is used by all people and that synergy is needed for its protection.

In his presentation, Marjan Stoilkovski from the Department of Cybercrime and Digital Forensics in the Ministry of Interior spoke about the state of cybercrime in the country and the challenges that the Department faces in the fight against cybercrime.

The representative of the Agency for Electronic Communications (AEC), Aleksandar Acev, presented the findings of AEC and the cyber-attacks statistics this year. According to official data, in the period from January to October this year, 328 Macedonian web sites were attacked.

Today’s discussion was attended by a large number of professionals in the field of cyber space from other related institutions, directorates and agencies, as well as the private telecommunications and financial sector in the Republic of Macedonia.