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Manchevski Attends the International Cyber Security Conference in Ohrid

Ohrid, June 5th, 2019

The Minister of Information Society and Administration, Damjan Manchevski, attends the international annual cyber security conference held in Ohrid. The two-day conference is organized by the National Computer Incident Response Center MKD-CIRT and the Agency for Electronic Communications, with a view to improve cooperation and exchange of information related to cyber security between Computer Incident Response Teams from Southeastern Europe, critical information infrastructure operators, organizations from the public and the government sector and international ICT companies.

In his speech, Minister Manchevski stressed that to be a host-country of a cyber security conference is a prime example of North Macedonia's commitment to facilitate regional and international cooperation on that issue. According to him, regional and international cooperation is of utmost importance and, in that regards, international exchange of good practices and experiences is necessary.

"At the doorstep to NATO and soon to the EU, the Republic of North Macedonia is becoming an increasingly attractive target to cyber crime. Undoubtedly, cyber security became one of the key priorities of the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia. The combination of strong political will and the priority to build cyber-security capacities with the support of our strategic partners produced significant results in the past year. Since then, the security landscape has significantly changed", noted Manchevski, stressing that the Ministry of Information Society and Administration, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Interior and the National Computer Incident Response Center - MKD CIRT are at the forefront of national cyber security, and a National Expert Group has also been established. 

Minister Manchevski noted that a clear and strategic vision had been set in early 2018 to build cyber-security capacities in North Macedonia. Moreover, in cooperation with the World Bankl and Oxford University, the National Cyber Security Strategy and Action Plan 2018 - 2022 have been prepared with the support of international partners and the European Commission, by means of public consultations.

"At a national level, we recognized the need to invest in equipping our people, the public administration work force, and our industry, with the needed skills and capacities, particulary the Computer Incident Response Team (MKD - CIRT) as a national coordination body to notify about and manage cyber security incidents for governments and public sector institutions. With the outstanding cooperation and support from the EC in the field of digital policy, North Macedonia established a Science and Technology Park in Skopje, and will soon establish a Regional Cyber Security Training and Research Center", said Manchevski.

According to Minister Manchevski, the proposal to establish the Regional Cyber Security Training and Research Center in Skopje has been prepared, and assessment is underway of organization and financial resources. The proposed concept for the Regional Cyber Security Training and Research Center will be included in the anticipated Technology Park and will offer: Professional Training - training center for public administration officers and owners of critical infrastructure of WB6; Academic Research - academic cooperation and joint cooperation of WB6 researchers; and Technology Park - to stimulate innovation, entrepreneurship and economic growth and to serve as the main local hub for the ICT and IS start-up community in the region.

"With this initiative, we aim to encourage cooperation between the public and the private sector and the access to cyber security at EU level, whereby we would enhance not only our national cyber-security capacities, but also the regional ones, encouraging young enterpreneurs and technology enthusiasts to develop and test technologies to increase protection of users and infrastructures from cyber threats", said Manchevski.

The conference in Ohrid was attended by 70 foreign and domestic cyber security experts, and discussed topics included: the role of CSIRT, existing models of legal frameworks, international experiences, the importance of data exchange between sectors in the region and at international level, cyber attack case study etc.

Ministry of Information Society and Administration