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Cybersecurity and critical national infrastructure: increasing resilience and collaboration to deter cyber threats

Summary document

This event provided an opportunity for likeminded governments, including the UK, the Czech Republic and the other European partners within the Visegrad Group (V4) and beyond to come together to share best practice and practical tools for identifying vulnerabilities and increasing resilience of critical national infrastructure (CNI) assets and dependencies, leading to increased cooperation in the field of cyber security and CNI protection.  

The increased digitisation of critical national infrastructures (CNI), whilst bringing real benefits, also raises cyber security risks. Disruption to any of these critical services could cause serious harms to lives and livelihoods. Current security procedures and strategies have generally not kept pace with the volume and magnitude of cyber-attacks : many organisations and institutions lack the resources, or the administrative, technical skills and personnel required to detect and prevent cyber-attacks.  

COVID-19 has opened new opportunities for those wishing to exploit cyber vulnerabilities and re-ordered what we now think of as CNI. Changes to working structure and patterns, with significant increases in the number of remote workers and the rapid adoption of new technologies and digital products, have created new and escalating risks at the nexus of digital infrastructure, economy, geopolitics, and privacy that, if left unaddressed, pose significant risks to our security and economic wellbeing. COVID-19 has also severely tested key sectors of CNI, resulting in a number of questions about the resilience and efficiency of the current system at all levels – from service operators (providers), through ministries to the government level. Bilateral cooperation between CNI stakeholders has been historically limited; improving domestic and international strategies to fight and deter cyber-attacks on critical national infrastructure cannot be done in isolation and will need strong international partnerships. Collaboration and cooperation will be fundamental in building resilience to these threats and identifying interdependencies 

In partnership with Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office 

Wilton Park reference number: WP1945V

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