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"Cybersecurity and Energy Resilience" project has been launched to protect Ukrainian energy sector

Updated: Nov 28, 2023

The International Cyber Academy (Ukraine), the European Cybersecurity Initiative (Estonia), in partnership with the Ministry of Energy of Ukraine and ISSP, have launched the project "Cybersecurity and Energy Resilience", aiming to elevate the cyber resilience of the energy sector amidst russia's military aggression. This project is an integral part of the Development Cooperation Partnership (DCP, round 10) program, co-funded by the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia.

David Schlaefer, Senior Assistance Coordinator at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, emphasized the urgency of joint efforts in the face of russia's aggressive war, stating, "The increasing cyberattacks on Ukraine's critical infrastructure, including the energy sector, can lead to major disruptions in essential public services and adversely impact the civilian population. Therefore, we endorse the implementation of this project, designed to evaluate protection and response systems, formulate recommendations for effective counteraction to cyber threats, and enhance crisis management and coordination among energy sector enterprises and relevant government entities."

Estonia was one of the first countries to experience large-scale cyberattacks from russia. That's why we fully support Ukraine and are ready to continue assisting in countering russian aggression, including in cyberspace. Supporting the resilience of the energy sector is a crucial step in this direction," commented Lauri Luht, a cyber attaché from the Embassy of Estonia.


Within the framework of the project, a series of events involving representatives from key industry enterprises, the Ministry of Energy, and experts from the public and private sectors are planned. The inaugural meeting, held on November 23 in the format of an expert discussion, brought together approximately 30 specialists from energy enterprises across different regions of Ukraine.

"Since 2015, the energy sector has made significant efforts in cybersecurity for key assets. However, this is not enough, as the aggressor continues to consistently attack the energy sector, including in cyberspace. Active involvement of industry representatives and discussions of key challenges is an effective mechanism for enhancing cybersecurity across the entire sector," noted Farid Safarov, Deputy Minister of Energy for Digital Development, Digital Transformations, and Digitalization.


The event provided a platform for the exchange of experiences among industry representatives, fostering an objective assessment of risks and capabilities within the sector to strengthen cyber protection and digital resilience during times of war. It logically followed the activities carried out within the program "Fundamentals of Cyber Hygiene to Enhance the Resilience of the Energy Sector in Ukraine." (DCP, round 8).

"In 2021, when the project just started, no one expected that its main phase would unfold amid russia's military aggression and active combat. However, we successfully navigated through it. Around seven thousand specialists from the Ukrainian energy sector participated in online training under a specialized program. The importance of such experience in the time of an active war is difficult to overestimate," added Valerii Tsiupa, President of the International Cyber Academy.


The next phase involves conducting a series of tabletop exercises (TTX) for the energy sector to further enhance its resilience against large-scale cyberattacks. TTX training will leverage the innovative STRATEX platform from Estonia, which has proven its effectiveness in Europe.


"The European Cybersecurity Initiative has over 10 years of experience in conducting tabletop exercises for the public and private sectors, businesses, and NGOs in various EU countries. We are ready to share our expertise and assist the energy sector in overcoming challenges and crises related to cyber incidents," explained Markus Münzer, ECSI Development Director.

The main TTX is scheduled for spring 2024, with consideration for the potential organization of sector-specific cyber training for enterprises from other critical infrastructure industries in Ukraine.


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