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IFAT conference on cyber security challenges in Central and Eastern Europe

On 24th May 2018, the Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade hosted a conference entitled “Cyber Threats in Central and Eastern Europe: Perspectives from the Visegrad 4 and the Baltics” with the involvement of experts from these two regions. The guest of honor was H.E. Ms. Marina Kaljurand, former Foreign Minister of Estonia.


The conference was opened by Mr. Márton Ugrósdy, IFAT’s Deputy Director for Strategy. The morning, closed panel session featured Mr. Blažej Lippay, liaison officer of the Slovakian National Security Authority, along with Mr. Edvinas Kerza, Vice-Minister of National Defense from Lithuania. The topics of the roundtable discussion ranged from the legal framework of cyber security to the importance of international cooperation and the unique characteristics of information warfare. It was chaired by Mr. Zoltán Rajnai, PhD, the cyber coordinator of Hungary’s Ministry of the Interior.

The afternoon, open session began with the opening remarks of H.E. Mr. Károly Dán, Hungary’s Permanent Representative to the OSCE, the UN and other international organizations. He spoke of the role that the OSCE and international legal standards play in protecting cyber security.

This was followed by a keynote speech held by H.E. Ms. Marina Kaljurand, former Foreign Minister of Estonia and Chair of the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace. She elaborated upon her own personal experiences in this matter, since she served as Estonia’s Ambassador to Russia during the time of the Russian-Estonian cyber incident in 2007. She highlighted that human rights in the virtual, online space must be in line with human rights “offline”. In addition, she stressed the role of IT education in developing countries, where billions of people will join the cyber space in the decades to come.

The roundtable discussion in the afternoon was moderated by Mr. Csaba Krasznay, PhD, Director of the National University of Public Service’s Cyber Security Academy. The experts included Mr. Māris Andžāns, PhD, senior research fellow of the Latvian Institute of International Affairs, Ms. Kinga Raś, analyst from the Polish Institute of International Affairs, together with Mr. Edvinas Kerza (Lithuania) and H.E. Ms. Marina Kaljurand (Estonia). The main issues covered were information warfare, the fight against “fake news” and more specific cyber defense strategies.

The closing remarks of the conference were delivered by H.E. Mr. Tobias Feakin, PhD, Australia’s Ambassador for Cyber Affairs, who outlined Australia’s experiences and challenges in the area of cyber security.

The conference was organized in cooperation with the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, in particular its Department for Resource Diplomacy and Emerging Security Challenges.

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