The Bulgarian government has adopted a new national strategy with the aim of bolstering its cyber-security efforts. The document, entitled National Cyber Security Strategy Cyber Resilient Bulgaria 2020, envisages the setting up of a Cyber-resilience Council as a permanent consultative body under the authority of the country's Council of Ministers.
George Sharkov, the government's National Cyber-security Coordinator and an adviser on cyber-defence to the country's Ministry of Defence, told SCMagazineUK.com that the function of a National Cyber-security Coordinator was established by the Bulgarian government back in 2009, but it was re-activated and extended in 2014.
“My major mission so far was to complete the national cyber-security strategy - we're almost the last in Europe and NATO without such [a strategy] - and to proceed with the Action Plan, monitoring respective projects, the needed institutionalisation, etc,” Sharkov said. “However, the Strategy recognises coordination as a key responsibility at the national and international level, both as a strategic and operational function and respective collaboration platform and technical implementation.”
The Cyber-resilience Council will play an important role in shaping the Bulgarian cyber-defence policy, collaborating with the Security Council, according to the government official. The Security Council is a government body that governs Bulgaria's national security, the country's plans and measures in this field, as well as manages national emergency efforts.
Sharkov said that the country's Executive Agency was among the key stakeholders that took part in the process, and a driving factor behind developing the national cyber-security model and strategy, and has specific functions in providing and maintaining the communication backbone for running the e-governance, and is in charge of maintaining network and information security.
“The Executive Agency is in the process of transformation … related to the newly adopted amendment to the e-governance law and the establishment of a new e-Governance State Agency which will absorb the Executive Agency with its respective functions and responsibilities regarding cyber-security,” Sharkov said. Bulgaria's cyber-security “model includes an active involvement and engagement of industry, business, academic and civil communities.”
Bulgaria is one of the numerous Central and Eastern European countries which have reinvigorated their cyber-security efforts following Russia's military intervention in eastern Ukraine, and the subsequent annexation of the Ukrainian Crimean peninsula in March 2014. The Moscow-backed intervention reportedly used hybrid-warfare to destabilise the country, including cyber-attacks on Ukraine's infrastructure.
Last February, as previously reported by SCMagazineUK.com, the Ukrainian government said that December power outages in Ukraine were caused by a cyber-attack. Kiev blamed Moscow for orchestrating the attack that halted the power supply in various parts of the country.
“Over the past years, there has been a growing concern among decision-makers in the region over the use of hybrid warfare,” professor Marek Jablonowski, a political scientist from the University of Warsaw, toldSCMagazineUK.com.