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Session 7: Assuring Cyber-Security in the Western Balkans and the Rest of Europe

During an interesting and dynamic panel on cyber security, prominent group of speakers continued the last year’s debate on the most important security issues with a “cyber” prefix.

Today, twenty percent of worldwide communication is online. Average person has at least one device with the IP identification. Even though protection systems and security measures improve significantly each year, threats and risks evolve as well. In this regards presented research confirms that the end-users are the weakest link in the process of protection.

Three main questions arose during the session: What are the main cyber-threats? Who are the main actors in the process of establishing safe cyber-policies? How is cyber-security performed nowadays? Combining their rich personal and professional experiences, participants have recommended different forms of Internet users’ protection, but as well strong critique of the actors involved in online protection. Audience got acquainted with relevant technical terms, civic society perspective, government policies, private sector and international cooperation related to the current risks and threats posed to the cyber world. Speakers contrasted Balkan experiences with countries like USA, UK and Brazil.

The complexity was highlighted as one of the main problems with cyber-security – it is difficult to establish a coherent strategy among the actors. In this regards the important role of education and awareness rising was specifically emphasized. All users need to learn how to develop sharp skills for their permanent protection. Today security is the responsibility of the whole society – all throughout active defense is critical – no defense gives legitimacy to cyber-attacks.

The debate also revolved around the future of the Internet. Speakers agreed that it is quite hard to predict. Even the existing research results on the cyber-crimes and its real consequences and costs are rarely reliable, because of the frequent silence and documentation cover-ups, due to the other interests of the users (banks, business companies, military, etc.). The speakers finished the debate noting that the best future scenario is the one that won’t have any revolutionary twist, but the one that will remain within the existing capacities of Internet usage, only strengthened with ever-improving protection systems and measures, and more cooperation between government(s), private sector, civic society and general population.

  • Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones‚ Government Special Representative to Business on Cyber Security, Cyber Security Challenge
  • Alexander Klimburg‚ Senior Adviser, The Austrian Institute for International Affairs
  • Predrag Tasevski‚ Founder,
  • Jovan Kurbalija‚ Founding Director, Diplo Foundation
  • Vladimir Radunović, coordinator of e-diplomacy educational and training programmes of DiploFoundation (Moderator)