On October 31, the Estonian Centre of Eastern Partnership (ECEAP) in cooperation with CybExer Technologies (CybExer) and Ukraine Crisis Media Centre held a conference in Kyiv on ‘Disinformation and Cyber Security during Elections in Ukraine: Lessons Learned and Future Steps’. The conference concluded activities conducted in the framework of a successful EU-funded project to improve the resilience of the Ukrainian electoral system to manipulation and interference in cyberspace.
Ambassador Matti Maasikas, Head of Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine told the conference: “The EU expresses solidarity with Ukraine in countering hybrid threats, and continues to provide its support in cyber security and fighting disinformation. Confidence building and awareness raising in particular have been key elements of this support ahead and during the elections of 2019.” He added: “The EU will use the positive experience of this co-operation in its future action in Ukraine and beyond.”
“As hybrid warfare threats tend to intensify around election times, the support of the European Union and Estonia to Ukraine has been especially crucial in 2019 when not one but two significant elections, presidential and parliamentary, took place,” added Gert Antsu, Director of the Estonian Centre of Eastern Partnership.
The project ‘Countering Election-related Cyber Threats and Disinformation Campaigns in Ukraine’, implemented by the Estonian Centre of Eastern Partnership and CybExer Technologies is part of a broader effort by the European Union to support Ukraine’s resilience to cyber threats and disinformation through building the capacity of Ukraine’s security structures responsible for the prevention and management of cyber threats and strengthening the skills of local media representatives in Southern and Eastern regions of Ukraine to identify and inform the public about disinformation in cyberspace.
Speakers at the conference included experienced media and cyber experts from Ukraine and Estonia who discussed the lessons learned and future challenges of building the capacity of Ukraine’s security structures responsible for the prevention and management of cyber threats, and strengthening the skills of local media representatives in Southern and Eastern regions of Ukraine to mitigate the impact of hybrid warfare.
Peter Wagner, the Head of the Support Group for Ukraine, added that “Only very few countries experience cybersecurity challenges similar to Ukraine.” He underlined that “Ukraine’s experience, notably in the context of elections, is interesting to other Eastern Partnership countries and also to the EU Member States.”
Activities conducted in the framework of the project have included:
- training workshops organised by ECEAP and conducted by Estonian and Ukrainian media specialists for more than 100 local and regional journalists in Kherson, Odesa, Mykolaiv, Mariupol and Sievierodonetsk;
- technical and strategic cybersecurity exercises held by CybExer for cyber specialists from the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), State Service of Special Communication and Information Protection (SSSCIP) Central Election Commission (CEC), Cyber Police, State Centre of Cyber Defence, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Digital Transformation;
- practical study visits organised by ECEAP for the above-mentioned cyber specialists to institutions in Estonia (during Estonian Parliamentary elections), Sweden and Germany for insight into their best practices in cybersecurity;
- report by CybExer on “Post-Election Assessment of the Cybersecurity Infrastructure and Interagency Cooperation in Ukraine with Related Recommendations”.
Photo: Ambassador Matti Maasikas addressing the conference