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Poland faces rise in cyber warfare incidents: gov't minister

07.05.2024 13:00
Poland is facing a doubling in critical incidents in cyberspace, with 2023 recording approximately 80,000 incidents compared to around 40,000 in 2022, Digital Affairs Minister Krzysztof Gawkowski has said.
Krzysztof Gawkowski
Krzysztof GawkowskiPrzemysław Chmielewski/Polskie Radio

The first quarter of 2024 is already indicating a continued upward trend, suggesting the situation might worsen, according to Gawkowski​​.

Poland, Ukraine to jointly combat Russian disinformation

Speaking at an unannounced visit to Kyiv to meet his counterpart Mykhailo Fedorov, Gawkowski said on Monday that Poland and Ukraine would jointly combat Russian disinformation.

“We are in a difficult and critical situation,” Gawkowski stated.

“If we look at the war in Ukraine, the situation there has become much more challenging in recent months, and we need to responsibly inform our citizens about this,” he said, emphasizing the necessary focus on preparing the public while ensuring safety.

'Poland is in a state of cyber Cold War with Russia'

"Poland is in a state of cyber Cold War with Russia, and daily threats in this area from Moscow are identical for both Warsaw and Kyiv," Gawkowski added.

He highlighted the government's actions to safeguard critical infrastructure and update the national cybersecurity system to enhance coordination and protection.

"Cyber warfare has become an easy and convenient battlefield, as it doesn't require sending tanks but can paralyze a state," he said, noting the need to strengthen the coordination of cyber defenses​.

Poland has become the world's largest provider of technology to ensure internet connectivity in Ukraine.

Speaking specifically of the Starlink system, Gawkowski said: "Starlinks are one of the elements of building and taking responsibility for today's technological support of internet connectivity in Ukraine. We currently have over 20,000 Starlinks for whose operation Poland ensures payment."

He added: "They provide support for the military in Ukraine, as well as for hospitals, critical infrastructure, and also ensure a continuous broadband internet connection for civilians."

Poland has also provided some 500 Powerwall energy storage units for both the military and civilian sectors, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

Poland is currently implementing the European Union's newly enacted Digital Services Act to counter disinformation, according to officials.

Gawkowski said that his first steps included engaging with representatives from major social media platforms to address the spread of fake news.

'Accountability for fake news must lie where it is produced'

"We aim to combat disinformation, and accountability for fake news must lie where it is produced," he said.

The minister urged large social media platforms to strengthen their procedures concerning safety and reliability​​ of information they serve.

The government is drafting a new Digital Services Act to be reviewed by parliament in 2024, Gawkowski revealed.

He emphasized the urgent need for digital services to contribute to increased safety and shared responsibility​​.

Gawkowski also touched on cybersecurity during elections, expressing a desire for citizens to report incidents related to disinformation.

The government’s efforts align with its broader goal of enhancing cybersecurity and countering disinformation, he said​​.

At their meeting, Gawkowski and Fedorov signed a digital memorandum further strengthening Poland's and Ukraine's cooperation in cyber security and digital services.

Poland's emphasis on cyber defense and regulation highlights the broader challenge nations face in safeguarding their digital domains​.

Cybersecurity is a crucial issue globally, with increasing risks to critical infrastructure and national security.

Digital threats frequently originate from Russia or aligned states and put at risk not just military activity but also international trade and, as in the case of GPS blocking, air traffic.


Source: PAP