Prishtina, Kosovo, June 25, 2015—The World Bank is helping to strengthen cyber security in Kosovo by piloting a capacity building assessment aimed at identifying cyber security gaps. Its experts have collaborated closely with Government and the responsible institutions to review policy-making, legal and regulatory frameworks, policies and practices related to cybersecurity outreach, education and trainings, as well as the adoption of international cybersecurity standards and technologies.
With the dynamic growth of digital data and the use of broadband-enabled devices, cyber risks are exponentially increasing for networks managed by the Government of Kosovo, operators of critical national infrastructure (especially public utilities), companies inside and beyond the telecommunication and financial sectors, as well as households. For example, insecure networks may enable leaks of sensitive information or cause malfunctions in systems responsible for public service provision (such as water supply, energy, or transport).
In cooperation with the Ministry of Economic Development, the World Bank facilitated a workshop entitled Cyber Security in Kosovo: Dialogue on Strategic Priorities. Participants from Government, the private sector, and civil society discussed the findings of the Cyber Security Capacity Maturity Model Assessment carried out by The Global Cyber Security Capacity Centre at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. The cyber security experts focused on the current situation in Kosovo, including relevant policy initiatives by the public sector, as well as public and private sector cyber security education and training possibilities, and private sector experience with addressing cyber security risks.
“The increased reliance on the Internet as a source of information and an instrument of management creates immense opportunities but also entails new risks,” said Jan-Peter Olters, World Bank Country Manager for Kosovo. “With the continued and deepened focus on matters of cyber security—, households, firms, and governments can take full advantage of accessing information, strengthening management and oversight, growing commerce, and improving communication, while being protected, to the extent possible, from cybercrime and cyber security leaks.”
The World Bank and The Global Cyber Security Capacity Centre at the University of Oxford have been cooperating on cyber security knowledge exchange and capacity building. In February 2015, a group of researchers from the University of Oxford conducted a field trip to Prishtina to interview a number of government and nongovernment stakeholders in order to produce the Cyber Security Capacity Maturity Model assessment report and recommendations.
"This has been the first assessment of cybersecurity capacity in the Western Balkans using our new research," said Professor Sadie Creese, Director of the Global Cyber Security Capacity Centre at the University of Oxford. "We are delighted to have been able to work closely with the Government of Kosovo to use our new model to help shape a more comprehensive approach to cybersecurity. It has also been vital in developing our cooperation with the World Bank, with a shared aim of increasing the effectiveness of cybersecurity across the world".
Agim Kukaj, Head of Post, Telecommunications, Information and Communication Technology Department of the Ministry of Economic Development of Kosovo and lead government counterpart for the assessment and workshop said: "The assessment showed a realistic view of cyber security capacity strengths and weaknesses of different categories of Kosovo stakeholders, and in the process generated a considerable amount of interest, especially on the level of interagency cooperation in the public sector. It would thus be a lost opportunity for the Government not to build on this assessment further by bridging various interests and leveraging synergies ".
The World Bank supports Kosovo’s cybersecurity agenda as part of its larger telecommunications work program managed by the Transport and ICT Global Practice. The work program started in June 2014 with a grant from the Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility (PPIAF) for infrastructure sharing consulting support to the Ministry of Economic Development of Kosovo and electricity utility KOSTT J.S.C. The Korea Green Growth Trust Fund provided additional funding for the expansion of broadband Internet connectivity to currently underserved municipalities, which is expected to create a platform for greener growth.