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May 2022 – With the invasion of Ukraine
and a substantial increase in cyberattacks on governments, critical
infrastructure and other strategic targets, the topic of
cybersecurity has gained even more importance. Below is an
overview of the steps that national security authorities have taken
to strengthen national security.
- On 24 November 2021, the Bulgarian government designated the
State e-Government Agency as a national coordination centre for the
purposes of Regulation (EU) 2021/887. The establishment of the
coordination centre is expected to contribute to achieving a high
level of network and information security, thus boosting the
standards and sustainability within cybersecurity.
- In relation to the situation in Ukraine, the Ministry of
e-Government issued a statement on 27 February stating that its
personnel and the Cybercrime Department within the Ministry of
Interior are taking appropriate action for the security of
electronic systems, including the filtering of access to over
45,000 internet addresses. The message was not directly related to
Russia, but it mentioned hybrid attacks and the increased threat of
malicious internet interference.
- The State e-Government Agency has also sent notifications to
telecommunication operators and companies operating public
communication networks, which have an obligation to stop malicious
- An additional response to the situation in Ukraine from a
cybersecurity perspective is the comprehensive actions taken by the
Cyber Security Council to the Council of Ministers to protect
critical and strategic systems within Bulgarian state institutions.
The Minister of e-Government reassured the public that Bulgaria is
not in a state of cyber war, shortly after the above-mentioned
statement from the Ministry of e-Government, while at the same time
signalling that the Ministry is working actively with companies to
purchase detection, protection and neutralisation solutions to
cyberattacks to safeguard all state information systems.
- On 24 and 27 February 2022, the Croatian National Cyber
Security Authority ("CERT") issued
warnings of possible cyberattacks connected to the Russian invasion
- CERT has recommended all citizens to be cautious when opening
content related to the Ukrainian situation, as such content might
be part of phishing campaigns, hoax news or malware. CERT
recommended that each company should:
- regularly follow CERT's publications;
- forward CERT's educational materials to its employees;
- instruct its employees to report any suspicious activity to its
dedicated security department or to CERT;
- implement measures to prevent and limit damage from DDoS
- implement multifactor authentication and limit access to its
- implement rules on the use of social media accounts.
- According to the director of the country's National Cyber
Security Directorate (the "DNSC"), Dan
Cîmpean, Romania recorded a "spectacular rise" in
the number of cyberattacks aimed at its infrastructure shortly
after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. At one point, four days
after Russian troops entered Ukraine, Romania's cybersecurity
authorities saw an increase in cyberattacks by roughly
- Several threads and recommendations have been posted by the
DNSC, such as:
- In the context of the military conflict in Ukraine, special
attention should be given to fake online news. Several websites
hosted in Russia have copied the visual identity and content of
well-known news websites in Romania (News.ro, Capital, BZI,
Hotnews.ro). These actions imply fraud and possible disinformation.
Sources should be checked and accessed directly, not through links
received via suspicious communication channels;
- Several official communications regarding fake news were made
in the context of the conflict in Ukraine, including putting in
place a list of fake websites and IP addresses involved in malware
attacks and phishing campaigns directed at Ukrainians or members of
European governments involved in assistance to refugees;
- Several fake initiatives impersonating assistance actions for
refugees have been flagged;
- A recommendation to avoid giving any personal data or financial
data via Whatsapp in response to messages regarding employment
- A recommendation to be cautious of messages regarding fake
Bitdefender updates that spread malicious files (links or
attachments informing of an urgent need to update).
- On 21 February 2022, the National Center for the Prevention of
Security Risks in ICT systems of the Republic of Serbia (the
"Serbian National CERT") published a
guide entitled "Protect Your Company and Employees: How to Act
if Your Electronic Mail is Attacked and How to Protect Your
Accounts" (the "Guide").
- The Guide illustrates the following:
- reasons why electronic mail may be the target of
- manners in which attackers may gain unauthorised access to
- methods to determine whether electronic mail has been accessed
- steps to undertake in order to mitigate the consequences of an
- preventive steps that could protect electronic mail from future
- In addition to the Guide, there are several other publications
on the official website of the Serbian National CERT that seek to
promote awareness to businesses and individuals of the constant
threats in cyberspace and offer guidance on how to minimise the
- On 23 February 2022, the Slovak National Security Authority
(the "Slovak NSA")
issued a warning of cyberattacks on elements of critical
- The Slovak NSA recommended that all organisations do the
- perform a cybersecurity audit;
- update risk analyses considering the current geopolitical
- apply a strict password policy;
- implement and enforce authorisation with multiple steps;
- other steps to ensure the utmost safety of cyberspace and the
data within it.
- The Slovak NSA did not directly connect the warning to Russian
attacks, but issued the warning in light of the recent situation in
Ukraine and previous cyberattacks in the region.
- In addition, the Slovak NSA announced that it has taken
precautionary measures against the leakage of classified
information to foreign powers and unauthorised persons. This
announcement came shortly after recent news that the Slovak police
had detained several persons in connection with spying for Russia.
Persons close to defence forces or to members of parliament were
among the detainees.
- On 17 March 2022, the Turkish Information Technology and
Communication Authority (the "ITCA")
organised the e-Safe CyberSecurity Summit regarding cybersecurity
weaknesses in the public and private sectors.
- The President of the ITCA, Ömer Abdullah
Karagözoğlu, underlined the increasing number of
cyberattacks and the importance of cybersecurity;
- Karagözoğlu mentioned 5G in relation to cyberattacks,
explaining that some of the current security concerns relate to 5G
networks, while others are related to devices connecting via
- He also highlighted the importance of adhering to
standardisation studies conducted by international standardisation
institutions such as ITU, ENISA and ETSI, etc.
- On 29 December 2020, the President of the Turkish Republic
issued a circular and announced the National Cybersecurity Strategy
and Action Plan (the "Action Plan") for
the 2020–2023 period.
- The main objectives of the Action Plan are stated as
- to protect the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure;
- to develop national technological tools for operational needs;
- to enhance the competencies of teams fighting cyber
- Within the scope of the Action Plan, the National Cybersecurity
Intervention Center (the "NCIC"), a
subsidiary of ITCA, plays a role in Turkey's defence against
cyberattacks and works to boost cybersecurity.
- Over 3,000 DDoS attacks have been reported by the State Service
of Special Communication and Information Protection of Ukraine
since 15 February 2022. The highest recorded intensity reached 275
DDoS attacks per day. Most attacks were directed at information
resources of state authorities and at the financial and
- As a countermeasure, on 24 March 2022, parliament adopted
amendments to the Criminal Code of Ukraine to substantially
strengthen the existing liability for committing cybercrimes. In
particular, any unauthorised interference with communications
networks committed during martial law may be punishable by
imprisonment for up to 15 years if such interference leads to
leakage, loss, forgery, blocking of information, distortion of
information processing or its routing, and/or if the above causes
significant damage or creates a danger of serious technological or
ecological accidents, death or mass disease of the population.
These changes will come into force upon approval by parliament and
signature of the president.
- The State Service of Special Communication and Information
Protection of Ukraine offers its assistance to Ukrainian businesses
on an individual basis by creating robust cybersecurity systems for
their IT infrastructures.
- In March 2022, Ukraine become a Contributing Participant of the
Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (the
"CCDCOE"), one of NATO's Centres of
Excellence, based in Tallin, Estonia, which is responsible for the
cooperative cyber defence capability of NATO and NATO nations.
Ukraine's participation in the CCDCOE will facilitate the
exchange of experience and best practices in combating cyber
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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