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Georgia Targets National Cyber Awareness
Source: futuregov.asia
Source Date: Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Focus: Institution and HR Management
Country: Georgia
Created: Nov 11, 2010

An increase in national ICT awareness is part of an overall plan by the state of Georgia to raise the significance of cyber warfare following widespread attacks on its internal infrastructure in 2008.

Speaking at the Asia Pacific Defence Forum in Singapore, Georgia’s Vice Prime Minister Giorgi Baramidze, said that cyber security would be included in a root-and-branch approach to educating people about warfare.

“It is important to educate people and increase their knowledge in computer science, it is an important priority for us to put a computer in every school in Georgia, to let every kid have access to the internet – we have initiated a program that gives every first grade child modified laptops so that they can know this technique and be familiar with cyber war and operate in this new world, that’s been creating recently, but that is now an undivideable part of our lives,” he said.

“No civilised nation can exist without this, it’s very important to start from zero – from kids - and go all the way up to defence systems and the government institutions that are responsible for this issue.”

Most of Georgia’s government websites were attacked by DDoS prior to the ground offensive by Russian troops in 2008, paralysing the country and vital national infrastructure.

“Our country was almost shut down: the banking sector, government agencies, the ministry of defence, the ministry of interior, the president’s office, the ministry of justice, the judiciary and the transport system,” Baramidze said.

“Overall damage by the war was assessed at around $4bn and of course cyber damage was part of it, but we weren’t able to adequately estimate how much.”

An EU monitoring mission has been operating on the ground in Georgia since 2008.

NATO is also planning to reform its mutual protection policy to include the increasing threat of cyber attacks at a summit in Portugal next week following the cyber attacks against Georgia, Estonia in 2007 and the emergence of the Stuxnet computer virus, which has been labelled the world’s “first cyber superweapon”.

Baramidze said that while Georgia had become a “case study” for cyber attacks, it had raised awareness about the threat of cyber war as an issue that “the public and governments must understand.”

“We have become a case study for this and we are ready to share our knowledge and experience.”

Baramidze added that while there was still much to do Georgia had followed the example of Singapore in creating a business-friendly environment for investors, with low taxes and regulation that had seen it jump to No.11 on the World Bank’s list of places to do business.

“We are concentrated on progress, looking forward and not backwards,” he said.

  • The full interview with Georgia Vice Minister Giorgi Baramidze will be available in the January edition of FutureGov Asia Pacific

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