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2019.07.03 16:57

Lithuania to bolster cyber security – early warning system, additional cyber security center

Saulius Jakučionis, BNS2019.07.03 16:57

The Lithuanian government on Wednesday approved a plan to bolster cyber security, by establishing a regional cyber security center in Lithuania's second-largest city Kaunas, as well as the introduction of advanced warning systems at critical infrastructure facilities.

The plan is aimed at implementing the earlier-endorsed National Cyber Security Strategy.

Jonas Skardinskas of the cyber security and IT policy group at the Ministry of Defense told BNS the establishment of the cyber security center in Kaunas is in the "creation phase".

The plan also stipulates the allocation of almost 1.3 million euros in 2019 to the center being established in cooperation with the United States, but the plan will probably be updated by changing the date to 2020.

"It all depends on the construction work, but the building itself is not complex. We have the goal to have that center operational by the end of 2020," Skardinskas said.

Lithuanian officials are now holding talks with US authorities to have the possibility of cyber security specialists from the US Pennsylvania National Guard to work at the center; the US would supply some of the equipment.

The new center in Kaunas would act as a division of the National Cyber Security Center, and it could also be used to command the EU Rapid Response Cyber Force being established at Lithuania's initiative, as part of EU's Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO).

The plan also includes the allocation of 430,000 euros in 2019-2021 for the creation of early warning systems that would send signals to operators of critical infrastructure facilities of possible cyber attacks.

According to Skardinskas, scientists at the National Cyber Security Center are already reacting such systems based on artificial intelligence. They are expected to be produced and installed in five or six years.

The specific list of the state's critical infrastructure is classified, but includes the IT system operators of state and private institutions in energy, financial, treansport, communication and other sectors.

The government also plans to allocate almost half a million euros to the communication and information system battalion the army is creating, so that it could acquire cyber defense measures.

The MoD does not provide details on specific equipment as this information is classified.

Cyber security specialists say state institutions and the energy sector are targeted the most in Lithuania.