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Deputy Minister of Infrastructure, Transportation and Networks visits ITU Headquarters in Geneva (9-10 October 2014)

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Deputy Minister of Infrastructure, Transportation and Networks visits ITU Headquarters in Geneva (9-10 October 2014)

In view of the upcoming Plenipotentiary Conference (PP-14) of the International Union of Telecommunications (ITU) to be held in Busan (S.Korea), Deputy Minister of Infrastructure, Transportation and Networks Mr. Michalis Papadopoulos visited Geneva on the 9th and 10th of October 2014. During his visit Mr Papadopoulos had bilateral contacts with the Secretary - General of ITU Mr. Hamadoun Touré and with the current Deputy Secretary -General Mr. H. Zhao. On the 10th of October Mr. Papadopoulos addressed the Geneva Diplomatic community at a Conference under the title “Cyberspace, energy and development” as one of the keynote speakers.

Deputy Minister of Infrastructure, Transportation and Networks visits ITU Headquarters in Geneva (9-10 October 2014)

The Conference co-organized and co-hosted by the ITU and Energy Pact Foundation with the support of the International Atomic Agency (IAEA) and the World Economic Forum (WEF) focused on policy and strategic issues and the new relations required between the various stakeholders, in order to protect critical energy infrastructures, due to the growing connection to cyberspace.

As highlighted by the Secretary – General Mr. Hamadoun Touré in various occasions, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT’s) played an important role in the financial recovery of Greece.

The speech of H.E. the Minister is as follows:

Speech of Deputy Minister, Mr. M.Papadopoulos_ITU Conference

Secretary-General, Doctor Touré,

Deputy Secretary-General, Mister Zhao

Directors,

Distinguished delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It's an honor and it gives me great pleasure to be with you today.

I would also like to say that, being here in the headquarters of the International Telecommunication Union, makes me feel the dynamism and hard work that this placeconveys during the implementation of its global task.

I would like to congratulate all co-organisers for organizing this Conference, because, both personally and as Minister in my country, I think that a country's energy networks are its backbone that supports all sectors of the economy. Consequently, their protection is of the highest priority.

The main subject of the conference gives me the opportunity to talk about an issue that concerns my hometown, Ptolemais, located in the Prefecture of Kozani in Macedonia.

Today Ptolemais is the energy center of Greece due to the thermal power stations operating in the area exploiting the lignite and producing energy.

So any attack, whether physical or online (cyber), will have a devastating impact on the local community and the economy of Greece.

I would like to mention that, if /Herbert George Wells, when wrote the “///Anticipations”,///at the end of 19th century, decided to describe, no how will be the world in 2000, but from what will be risk, then the /cyber-crime will be included onthis /publication/.

The protection of critical energy infrastructure – such as the production and distribution of electricity, gas, oil – is vital for the socioeconomic prosperity of any country.

It is –therefore – a basic duty of every government to ensure the security and sustainability of energy infrastructure, against any threat, a physical one or a threat derived from cyberspace, which nowadays can have equally devastating consequences as a physical threat.

Indeed ladies and gentlemen,

the Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) support most of the human activities: beginning from the food distribution chains and the provision of water supplies, up to healthcare and government services, and even power networks.

The problem is that ICT networks have not been designed to provide the maximum level of security.

The cyber-crime is taking advantage of the weaknesses of the networks.

Cyberattacks take place every day.

Governmentsare attacked, corporations are attacked, individuals are attacked, children are attacked.

We are much more vulnerable than we think we are.

Imagine what would happen if the networks collapse.

Forgetabouttwitterandfacebook.

I am referring to the lack of food, to reduced stocks of drugs, to power failure, to lack of fuel.

Control centers, substations and general mechanisms and equipment, used for the management of the overall energy network of a country, including electricity, oil and natural gas are now all digital: they are the most vulnerable segment of the energy sector to cyberattacks.

It has been observed that development in technology equipment operation, inspection, distribution in the energy sector and in critical energy infrastructure, have expanded the scope of possible threats but also the consequences against the energy infrastructure of a country.

To address these threats requires concrete steps both within a country, and,much more, worldwide, because it is obvious that the attack can come from any part of the globe.

Greece takes very seriously the protection of critical energy infrastructure, but also of the wider networks from these threats. There are three official statutory CERTs, whose mission is the protection of cyberspace and cyber deal.

Furthermore, other entities at national level have expertise and assist in cybersecurity. I indicatively mention the Ministry of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks, which I lead. This Ministry is the relevant entity for policy on security of public communications networks and electronic communications services.

At European level, during its Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2014, Greece promoted a legislative proposal on measures to ensure a common high level of network and information security throughout the Union.

Greece also hosts ENISA (European Network and Information Security Agency).

Mr. Vangelis Ouzounis will elaborate on ENISA and its work later on.

*My point of view is that:*

1. Legislation, except from setting regulations and requirements, should proceed to the elimination of barriers that prevent the dissemination of information on cyber incidents and how to address them – barriers existing between private companies, and between private companies and the public sector.

2. We should increase the level of requirements for technical specifications and compliance with prescribed operating protocols, as far as control centers of the energy sector and their equipment are concerned.

3. We should continuously monitor the technological developments in testing machines and corresponding early harmonization of relevant necessary technical specifications, so that the equipment of energy networks follows the evolution of technology.

4. We shouldincrease investment in tackling cyber issues from energy management companies, using both incentives and mandatory measures, following legislative initiative of the government of each country.

5. There should be transfer of know-how between countries and organizations.

It is our duty to encourage the deepening of the international debate on this issue. Only by working together we can ensure the security of energy infrastructure.

The initiative of the ITU, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the World Economic Forum (WEF) for the organisation of today's conference is an important step in promoting international dialogue and I congratulate you for this initiative.

Thank you for your time and attention.

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