Cyprus serves as regional cybersecurity bridge

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Cyprus acts as a bridge of communication between the Middle East and Europe in cybersecurity, Defence Minister Charalambos Petrides said on Wednesday.

In remarks came on the sidelines of a seminar “on the role of the EU Cyber Ecosystem in Global Cyber Security Stability” co-organised by the Ministry of Defence Security and Defence Academy and the Digital Security Authority.

The event organised between 11 countries and organisations was held for the second year in Cyprus.

Petrides said: “Due to Cyprus’ strategic position, we are present and show that we are and act as a bridge of communication between the Middle East, the Gulf and Europe.”

He said cyberspace has emerged as the latest frontline, as the newest advances in digital technology bring enormous benefits and can also be weaponised.

“We don’t get to choose the kind of times we live in. But we can choose to try and shape our times.

“I am convinced that cyberspace can be at the same time safe and open, and the opportunities of global connectivity outnumber its dangers by far.

“If we want to preserve and expand these opportunities, we must also invest in security and governance for a free and secure global internet.”

It is estimated that by 2030, the number of internet users is expected to reach five billion.

“By then, 80% of the world’s population will have mobile connectivity, and 60% will enjoy broadband access.

“Artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing and the Internet of Things will shape the pace and contours of how we live, work and consume.

“Yet, our defence systems cannot ignore the possibility of cyber warfare. Too many young people have been exposed to the online propaganda of terrorist groups and disinformation to achieve political ends.

“Cyberspace is a global commodity, and we all share an interest in keeping it safe and secure,” said Petrides.

Communications Commissioner George Michaelides said Cyprus is now a regional cybersecurity and education hub.

“Our aim is for Cyprus to become a regional hub for training and other cybersecurity services.

“However, as the Digital Security Authority, we are not stopping here but moving forward with creating other structures for disbursing funds from the European Union for cybersecurity in the country, either for business or research.

“We are building a structure to make Cyprus a centre of services and products certification for cybersecurity.

“By certifying a product from third countries, it can be marketed in any country in the European Union.”