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Cybersecurity: How to prepare for cyber-attacks?

Cybersecurity: How to prepare for cyber-attacks? – this question was asked during the 5th Edition of Our Future Forum – the largest conference for young people in Poland. The panel discussion was moderated by Nikola Bochyńska – Editor-in-Chief of CyberDefence24. pl. Mariusz Chmielewski – Deputy Commander of the Cyberspace Defence Force Component, Mirosław Broiło – Advisor to the Minister for Cybersecurity Security at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jacek Łęgiewicz – Director for Cybersecurity. Corporate Affairs at Samsung Electronics Polska and Paweł Dąbrowski – NASK – Director of Corporate Affairs Cybersecurity Product Development Support.

Nikola Bochyńska began by asking how the war in Ukraine affected the entire cyber industry, and in particular Poland’s security in the context of cyber attacks. Mariusz Chmielewski began by stating that we are living in exceptional times, and what reaches us through the media is only residual information, because the real war is going on at a level invisible to the general audience. He noted that the Russian Federation directs its cyber attacks not only towards Ukraine, but also towards all other countries supporting our eastern neighbor. “In order to show you the scale of this phenomenon, I will say that according to research institutes, forty percent of German arms companies have fallen victim to cyber attacks by Russia,” the Colonel said. “Secure your mobile devices, do not download unknown applications, take care of all the rules of cyber hygiene” – advised the conference participants Mariusz Chmielewski. He then added that it is worth considering having two phones, private and business, as such a solution significantly reduces the risk of falling victim to phishing attacks.

Mirosław Broiło referred to threats of a hybrid nature. He began by explaining the concept of hybrid threats, which he defined as deliberate, organized and synchronized actions. “Hybrid threats should be understood as actions carried out by entities whose task is to weaken or cause damage to a specific target, through decisions taken at local, regional, state or institutional level, synchronized and targeted at weak points of democratic institutions in the political, economic, military, civil or information sphere,” he clarified. He stressed that the most common form of hybrid threats is disinformation, i. e. the transmission of information that is either patently untrue or gives the impression of real, but is actually intended to cause concern in the recipient. He also drew attention to non-standard actions, such as the uncontrolled migration flow that took place in 2021 on the Polish-Belarusian border.

Jacek Łęgiewicz presented to young people the perspective of a manufacturer of electronic equipment, specifically Samsung. He mentioned that since the beginning of the war, as an information technology provider, they had been aware of cyber attacks against users of Samsung branded equipment. He said that since 2019, Samsung has invested heavily in educating the public and the political class about cybersecurity issues. “As part of the Digital Contact programme, we cooperate with schools and educate even the youngest,” he said. He then warned young people about the dangers of sharing suspicious data with third parties because, as he pointed out, in the future, the same data could be used against us in ways we do not want.

Mariusz Chmielewski agreed that taking care of the security of one’s own data is crucial for every person dreaming of a career in public life. “Remember that information exhibitionism is never good, because the more people know about your life, the more people will use that knowledge against you,” he appealed.

Paweł Dąbrowski noted that public awareness of cybersecurity has increased significantly in recent years. He then added that unfortunately the number of crimes in cyberspace has also increased, so it is crucial to continue the process of educating the public on this subject.

A few moments later Colonel Mariusz Chmielewski explained to young people what the job of a cyber soldier is. He noted that cyber soldiers operate primarily in the IT sector and in total there are more than six thousand of them in Poland. He mentioned that joining the Polish cyber army guarantees incredible development opportunities and a stable source of income, and then encouraged the conference participants to consider developing a career in the military.

Jacek Łęgiewicz presented several basic principles of cyber hygiene. “First of all, don’t put off updating your smartphones. Secondly, use different passwords for different platforms. Thirdly, educate your grandparents and grandmothers so that they do not fall for the so-called granddaughter method” – he instructed young people.

Paweł Dąbrowski added that it is necessary to use multi-step account authentication and biometrics, which modern mobile devices offer. “In this fast-paced world, watch where you share your data. Remember about cyber hygiene and common sense” – he concluded.

Mirosław Broiło pointed out that apart from cyber hygiene, skepticism towards information made available on the Internet is crucial. “If you don’t have to do something in the internet, cybernetic space, then just don’t do it and don’t be too curious, because curiosity is the first step to hell” – he advised young people.

Mariusz Chmielewski concluded that in the event of an unfortunate data leak or cyber attack, the appropriate services should be notified as soon as possible in order to minimize the risk of losses.

Paweł Dąbrowski also encouraged to report all attempts of online fraud to the appropriate services as soon as possible, and then again asked the conference participants to educate their parents and grandparents on cyber hygiene.

Finally, the speakers faced questions from the audience, which concerned, among other things: leakage of sensitive data from the Pentagon, threats of cyber attacks on critical infrastructure in Poland and promising branches of the cyber sector from the point of view of potential investors.

Source: Our Future Foundation’s Report

Photo: Our Future Foundation

Maksymilian Mirecki
I am a journalist and editor in Coopernicus. I study law and international relations at University of Warsaw. I am also a host of the podcast "Maximum Dose of Knowledge".
Written by:

Maksymilian Mirecki

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