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Kokkinos sounds alarm over cyber security

Deputy minister for Research, Innovation and Digital Policy Kyriakos Kokkinos on Thursday sounded the alarm over the danger to state systems from cyberattacks, saying government services were essentially unprotected.

Kokkinos told MPs at the House audit committee that there was no department to monitor such a crucial issue.

“The issue [of security] worries me very, very much as we open up to the outside world,” he said.

“No state and no company can say it is completely safe. But from being completely safe to not having the right architecture and security procedures is another thing. Unfortunately, we have been attacked by hackers and we just accept it.”

Kokkinos also said there had also been paid attacks, where hackers steal information and sell it on to other countries or try to sell it back to those they stole it from. This had happened to companies in Cyprus, he said.

“I feel exposed as undersecretary since my house is not locked and the windows are open,” he added.

Answering questions, he said the cost of creating such a security department would be high but the cost of not creating it would be higher

It would need 25 or 30 people and recruitment of such specialists would take around two and a half years.

There was a notion to outsource but such companies did not exist in Cyprus and outsourcing abroad would be risky.

MPs agreed that cyber security was an urgent issue.

“Rating Cyprus on the issue of cyber security, today we are at zero,” said committee chairman Zacharias Koulias, after the end of the session.

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