NATO team tackles cyber-crisis exercise in Estonia

             <p>By Gozde Bayar</p>  <p>ANKARA (AA) – A team of nearly 40 cyber security experts led by NATO are competing in Locked Shields 2019, the world’s largest “live-fire” cyber exercise starting Tuesday, said a statement by the bloc.</p>  <p>Organized by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) in the Baltic nation of Estonia, the annual exercise is a unique opportunity for cyber experts to enhance their skills in defending national information technology (IT) systems and critical infrastructure under real-time attacks, the statement added.</p>  <p>The three-day exercise uses a game-based &quot;live-fire&quot; approach, enabling participants to take on roles in fictional response teams in a laboratory environment.</p>  <p>This year’s exercise scenario covers a fictitious country called Berylia, which faces cyber-attacks on its civilian infrastructure in the midst of national elections.</p>  <p>The attacks lead to severe disruptions in areas such as water purification systems, the electric power grid, and 4G public safety networks.</p>  <p>The team's main goal is to protect the networks from further attacks.</p>  <p>The NATO team, which emerged as the winner of  previous Locked Shields, strengthened itself this year with 10 volunteers from six NATO allies -- Bulgaria, Croatia, Norway, Romania, Slovenia, and Turkey.</p>  <p>More than 1,000 international cyber defenders and decision-makers will take part in the exercise.</p>  <p>Locked Shields is a unique opportunity to encourage experimentation, training and cooperation between members of CCDCOE, NATO, and partner nations since 2010.</p>  

'World to lose $6 trillion due to cyberattacks by 2020'

                By Arife Yildiz Unal</p>    <p>ANKARA (AA) - Companies and households all around the world may incur losses worth $6 trillion due to cyberattacks by 2020, said head of Turkey’s Mobile Service Provider Businessmen's Association (MOBILSIAD).</p>    <p>The world lost $3 trillion due to cyberattacks in 2015 and these financial losses are predicted to reach $3.5 trillion last year, Prof. Kerem Alkin told Anadolu Agency. </p>    <p>He stressed that in 2020, the world's cyber-security expenses, which are currently around $100 billion, will also reach $1 trillion.</p>    <p>&quot;In 2020, the number of smart devices will reach 200 billion and, people will use 300 billion passwords for everyday life,&quot; he said.</p>    <p>Between 2015 and 2017, an average of one company was exposed to cyberattack for ransom in every 40 seconds, he noted.</p>    <p>It is expected that this rate would reach every 14 seconds this year, he added.</p>    <p>&quot;Illegal organizations turn towards cyberattacks due to high profit and low cost,&quot; he underlined.</p>    <p>Touching on ransomware issue, he said that last year illegal organizations earned $5 billion from ransom attacks across the world. </p>    <p>Ransomware -- a kind of malware -- locks or limits using computers' hard drive until paying a ransom to an illegal organization.</p>    <p>* Writing and contributions by Gokhan Ergocun

Top cybersecurity professionals meet in US conference

By Gozde Bayar

ANKARA (AA) – Annual RSA Conference, a global information security conference, took place on March 4-8, in San Francisco, the U.S.

With more than 500 sessions, the conference hosts top cybersecurity professionals and business leaders to discuss new trends of industry such as cryptography, cloud and application security, according to a statement posted on the website of the conference.

"Every year for the last 28 years, we've looked forward to gathering tens of thousands of the industry's top security professionals at RSA Conference to network, learn, and share," said Linda Gray Martin, director and chief of operations of the conference, which is held in Moscone Convention Center.

Each year, the organizers of the conference determine a unique theme. This year’s theme is "better" which refers to better connections with peers to keep the digital world safe by finding better solutions against cyber threats, according to the statement.

"This year, I’m particularly excited for our new and expanded programs which we hope will keep moving the industry forward for the better," said Martin, adding that empowering the community paved the way for success.

Martin underlined that equal representation and expression of both genders, physical abilities, and religions are welcomed at the conference.

"The RSA Conference is the premier marketplace for the latest technologies which helps industry professionals discover how to make their companies more secure," the statement said.

RSA is one of the first public-key cryptosystems and it stands for the first letters of its developers’ surnames, Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir, and Leonard Adleman.

Turkey fights cyber crimes with own capabilities

                            By Goksel Yildirim and Gozde Bayar</p>    <p>ANKARA (AA) - Turkey's top defense industry companies, including Aselsan and Havelsan, provide services to fight cyberattacks on institutions and critical infrastructures in the country.</p>    <p>Aselsan develops unique national solutions in the areas of cyber security, information security and cryptology, and carries out original projects aimed at meeting the needs of the public, military and civil sectors and foreign markets, according to the information compiled by Anadolu Agency.</p>    <p>Another defense industry company STM developed CyDecSys -- a domestic and national integrated cyber security support system.</p>    <p>With the adopted methods, cyberattacks can be deeply scanned and tracked down to its source.</p>    <p>Havelsan also provides defense services with its three products -- watch, barrier and shield -- to various institutions.</p>    <p>The watch ensures that the information infrastructure components of the institutions are centrally collected, linked, questioned and alarmed. </p>    <p>The barrier was developed in order to protect the corporate information and data, to use it in accordance with the determined blocking rules and to prevent unauthorized exit or leakage outside the boundaries of the institution. </p>    <p>The shield acts as a web application firewall that can detect and block attacks on web applications, providing load balancing for very high amount of network traffic.

  • Cyber-crimes take toll on global economy

The economic cost of cyberattacks has reached $600 billion in 2017, 1 full percent of the entire global GDP, according to a recent report.

The report, Economic Impact of Cyber Crime – No Slowing Down, a 2018 report by the U.S.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies revealed that countries with the greatest losses are "mid-tier nations" — those that are digitized but not yet fully capable of securing their own cyberspace.

The report also suggested that cybercriminals choose to attack developed countries’ electronic communications, energy and finance sectors to make higher profits though it is easier to access networks in developing countries.

The U.S., which releases a separate most-wanted list for cyber criminals, has become a major target for hackers and interstate cyberattacks.

Cybercrime is also a major issue in the U.K., with half of all reported crimes are related to cyber issues.

Experts highlight the importance of cyber security in the protection of systems, networks and programs from digital attacks and recommend public-private partnerships to strengthen the regulatory process.

*Writing by Gozde Bayar, Beyza Binnur Donmez

Cyber-security giant aims to expand business in Turkey

By Sevgi Ceren Gokkoyun

ANKARA (AA) – The Moscow-based global cyber-security firm Kaspersky Lab plans to expand its operations by 25 percent in Turkey, its CEO said Friday.

"Turkey is an important market for us and we are very interested in further business development in this region," Eugene Kaspersky told Anadolu Agency.

He said the company targeted increased business visibility in Turkey, adding that Kaspersky will continue to sell its products in Turkish currency.

Kaspersky praised Turkey's large young population as a resource to produce future cyber-security professionals.

"We are ready to share the company’s expertise with Turkey and to make substantial contributions to Turkey’s cyber-security strategy," he added.

Kaspersky estimated global costs from cyber crimes at around $600 billion in 2018, comparing it to the cost of the International Space Station, which was $150 billion.

"Our practice shows that even minimal investments in educational programs significantly increase cyber-security levels in companies and enterprises," he said.

Kaspersky added: "This alliance is crucial to see the full picture of cybercrime development and to help fight it, only criminals win if the information is not shared among us."

'Cyberattacks in Turkey rises 3 pct in first half'

By Tuba Sahin

ANKARA (AA) – Cyberattacks in Turkey rose 24.9 percent in the first half of 2018, up from 21.9 percent in the same period last year, according to Moscow-based cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab.

"If we compare the number of people affected by web-borne threats in Turkey in the first half of 2018 and the same period in 2017, there is an increase by 3 percent," Amir Kanaan, managing director for the Middle East, Turkey and Africa (META) at Kaspersky Lab, told Anadolu Agency.

Praising cybersecurity awareness in Turkey at government and enterprise level, Kanaan said the company is willing to improve cybersecurity awareness and protection in the country through sharing Kaspersky Lab's experiences.

"We are really interested in the cybersecurity initiative that the government is driving forward and we want to be a supporter for such initiative," he said.

Kanaan noted that the average cost of an attack on an enterprise was around $600,000, according to their studies.

He added that this awareness was weak at small companies and consumers level.

"For example, we did a research in Turkey and we saw that 46 percent of the respondents, that usually are on the consumer side, don’t have any kind of protection on their devices such as laptops, mobile phones and this is a little bit dangerous," Kanaan said.

He highlighted that despite the fact that cybersecurity market expands, the number of professional working on cybersecurity was still low.

– Cybersecurity program

Kaspersky has started an initiative in META region in order to increase the employment in the sector, he stated.

"We have talked with several universities for a one-year program or curriculum on cybersecurity for the students. After [attending the program], the student would get cybersecurity degree," he said.

Kanaan remarked that the company also seek for universities in Turkey to launch the program.

"In doing that we will have a big number of students that will be graduated with not only good experience but also good knowledge on cybersecurity," he said.

He stated that Kaspersky Lab aimed to focus on enterprises in Turkey.

Kanaan added that the company plans to expand their operations in Turkey by around 25 percent next year.

He noted that the company did not change its prices for all consumer security solutions despite fluctuation of the currency exchange rates in Turkey.

"Considering the unstable currency rates and difficulties that customers experienced since beginning of 2017, the company started selling its solutions and services not in U.S. dollars, but in Turkish Lira. At the moment all the prices are fixed at the current level, which represents last year’s rates," Kanaan said.

"With this offer, Kaspersky Lab once again emphasizes its commitment to Turkish market and support for customers," he added.

Kim skips inter-Korean exhibition of his favorite sport

By Alex Jensen

SEOUL (AA) – North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un is expected to be too busy to attend the second day of inter-Korean basketball games Thursday, having also missed the previous day's action.

This week's series of four friendly matches over two days — the first of their kind in 15 years and featuring men and women from both Koreas — was initiated by Kim himself during his meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in April.

Known to be a big basketball fan, Kim has famously developed a friendship in recent years with ex-NBA star Dennis Rodman.

"The chairman is currently giving on-site guidance, so it is likely that he might not attend today's matches," United Front Department head Kim Yong-chol was quoted by Yonhap News Agency as telling South Korea's Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon during a meeting in Pyongyang.

Cho is leading the South's basketball delegation of 100 members.

Despite his busy schedule, Chairman Kim is understood to have watched the first day's games on television and is also set to welcome U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this week.

Pompeo is due to arrive in Pyongyang on Friday for denuclearization talks.

Amid concerns that North Korea has failed to demonstrate any clear plan to abandon its nukes, security experts in the South suspect Pyongyang of being behind continued cyber-attacks.

Cyber security sources cited by Yonhap claimed Thursday that North Korean hackers have ignored the spirit of cooperation that followed April's inter-Korean summit.

They have allegedly recently targeted South Korean hospitals and manufacturers, for example, as well as sending e-mails masquerading as government officials from the South.

"Judging solely by (the) latest actions by North Korean hackers, it seems that cyber space is excluded from the agreement on ending hostile acts," a local expert was quoted as saying.

NATO’s ‘biggest’ cyber defense exercise begins

By Ilker Girit

ISTANBUL (AA) – The NATO on Tuesday launched its "biggest" cyber defense exercise involving more than 700 participants from 25 member states, as well as NATO partner countries, the European Union, industry and academia.

The 3-day exercise, named Cyber Coalition, is managed from the NATO Cyber Range in Estonia, with the majority of the participants taking part from their own workplaces, according to a statement on NATO's website.

"Taking place for the 10th year in a row, Cyber Coalition tests and trains cyber defenders from across the Alliance in their ability to defend NATO and national networks," the statement said, calling Cyber Coalition "NATO’s biggest and most important cyber defense exercise".

"The exercise has a challenging, realistic scenario that helps prepare our cyber defenders for real-life cyber challenges," NATO said.

Earlier this month, NATO said it would improve its command structure to tackle modern threats including cyber security.

Speaking at a cyber security conference in Mons, Belgium on Oct. 19, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said cyberattacks were serious, and had the "potential to undermine NATO’s missions around the world and to hamper our ability to deliver collective defense".

"That is why cyber defense is a top priority for NATO and for NATO allies," he added.

In September, EU defense ministers, as well as diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini and Stoltenberg took part in a cyberattack readiness exercise in the Estonian capital, Tallinn.

Stoltenberg said there had been a 60 percent increase in the number of cyberattacks against the alliance’s networks last year.

Security chief says Russian hackers targeted UK

By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal

LONDON (AA) – Russian hackers targeted media, telecom and energy companies in the U.K. over the last year, a top British intelligence expert said Wednesday.

Ciaran Martin, head of the U.K.’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), said he could “confirm that Russian interference, seen by the National Cyber Security Centre over the past year, has included attacks on the U.K. media, telecommunication and energy sectors”.

Martin’s comments on Russia followed Prime Minister Theresa May’s Monday speech, in which she accused the country of meddling in elections and fabricating fake news stories to destabilize Western democracies.

“I have a very simple message for Russia,” May said.

“We know what you are doing. And you will not succeed. Because you underestimate the resilience of our democracies, the enduring attraction of free and open societies, and the commitment of Western nations to the alliances that bind us,” she added.

“Russia is seeking to undermine the international system. That much is clear. The PM made the point on Monday night – [the] international order as we know it is in danger of being eroded,” Martin added.

The recently voiced concerns about Russian influence in British politics came after a research suggested that more than 400 fake Twitter accounts believed to be run from St. Petersburg published posts about Brexit.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh identified 419 accounts operating from the Russian Internet Research Agency attempting to influence U.K. politics out of 2,752 accounts suspended by Twitter in the U.S., The Guardian reported.

One of such posts attempted to stir anti-Islamic sentiment during the Westminster Bridge terror attack in March when a bogus post claimed a Muslim woman ignored victims. The claim was picked up by various tabloids.

A leaked NCSC memo suggested in July the U.K. energy sector had been targeted by “state-sponsored actors”, without giving any country names.

Turkey to run national cyber-security drill

By Arife Yildiz Unal

ANKARA (AA) – Turkey is getting ready to run a national cyber-security drill to test possible vulnerabilities in its state institutions, a senior minister said on Wednesday.

Communications Minister Ahmet Aslan told Anadolu Agency the drill is part of a global awareness-raising effort on cyber-attacks.

On Nov. 29, the informatics infrastructure of Turkey’s state institutions and their capacity to respond to security threats will be tested, Aslan said, and called on all public bodies to join in the drill.

The minister stressed the significance of the exercise, saying it would both help improve security and strengthen coordination among institutions.

Around 20 public corporations will take part in the first phase of the drill, while nearly 50 will participate in the second phase.

Reports on security vulnerabilities will be shared with the participating institutions at the end of the exercise.