The National Cyber and Information Security Agency is underfunded and is
therefore unable to recruit enough security experts to handle its workload,
the daily Hospodářské Noviny reported on Thursday. The paper cited the
head of the organisation Dušan Navrátil as saying it was not even able to
compete with the municipal police with its salaries. Mr. Navrátil also
said that the largest problem the cyber watchdog is currently facing is
outdated computer systems. However, according to Finance Minister Alena
Schillerová, the agency has not spent over CZK 100 million allocated to it
since its creation in 2017.
The news comes a day after the National Cyber and Information Security Agency published a report in which it said that 90 percent of cyber-attacks in 2018 come from outside the country and that most threat actors are linked to Russia and China.
The head of the National Cyber and Information Security Service (NÚKIB)
has denied that his agency shared its findings on a recent cyberattack
against the Foreign Ministry with the Senate Committee for Defence and
Last week that committee said a “foreign state power” had hacked into the ministry’s computer network, citing information from the NÚKIB, and called for more resources to be allocated to cyber security.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) at the weekend had criticized the agency for informing the Senate of the situation but no members of the government. At a National Security Council meeting on Monday, NÚKIB director Dušan Navrátil denied that was the case.
A group of former high-ranking state officials say a recent cyber-attack on
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs underscores the need to bolster state
security measures, which will require adopting new legislation.
Unlike other Nato allies, the Czech Republic has not done enough to build a cyber defence system, the group said in a statement on Wednesday. They warn that vital cyber-infrastructure, including in financial, energy, transport, healthcare sectors, is insufficiently protected.
Among the signatories to the statement are General Petr Pavel, who served as Chairman of the Nato Military Committee, former deputy defence minister Daniel Koštoval, and diplomat Petr Kolář, a former ambassador to Russia and the United States.
In July, a paper was published by Dr. Christopher Balding from the Fulbright University in Vietnam, which looked into the link between Huawei Technologies' employees and the Chinese intelligence and military establishment by analysing a unique dataset of CVs from unsecured Chinese databases and websites run by recruitment platforms leaked last year. In an interview with Czech Radio published on Wednesday, he said that Huawei employees appear to act on behalf of the Chinese interior ministry and army in their work for Huawei.
The Chinese Embassy's press spokesman says that information about its
cooperation with companies is "completely unfounded and fictional,
spreading false alarm and slander that damages Chinese reputation".
The statement was sent to media outlets in the country.
The statement was most likely made in response to a recent report by Czech Radio's Radiožurnál investigative team earlier this week, which quoted former Huawei employees. According to these anonymous sources the company collected sensitive data on its customers, which was then in some casses discussed at the Chinese Embassy.
The Czech branch of the Chinese company Huawei is suspected of collecting sensitive data on officials and businessmen through its employees. This material is allegedly gathered during business meetings and subsequently entered into a central database to which the company’s headquarters in China have access. Czech Radio’s investigative team at Radiožurnál broke the story, citing former Huawei employees and Czech intelligence sources.
Employees in the Czech branch of Chinese company Huawei routinely collect
sensitive data about officials and business people with whom they come into
contact and share it with the country’s embassy, Czech Radio’s flagship
station Radiožurnál reports.
The station found evidence of the practice while examining how Huawei operates in the Czech Republic. Two former company managers, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed close cooperation between Huawei workers and Chinese intelligence, despite the company’s denials.
Czech and Western intelligence services are convinced that to have Huawei roll out national infrastructure such as the 5G network would represent a security threat. The company told Radiožurnál in a statement that it fully complies with GDPR rules regarding privacy.
Czech President Miloš Zeman has said that Huawei is being tarred without any proof as part of what he called unfair business practices.
The Czech Republic ranks among the top 20 spam email senders in the world according to the most recent 2019 data analysed by leading threat researcher Cisco Talos. Some believe the problem stems from the general lack of concern for personalised IT security and there seems to be little the government can do about it.
The Ministry of Labour and Social affairs and the General Financial
Directorate are just some of the government offices with serious
cybersecurity issues, according to an examination conducted by the National
Cyber and Information Security Agency, the Czech daily Deník N reported on
The agency identified problems not just in the offices’ online security, but also in the actual protection of workplace computers and networks. Systems such as social benefits, and the electronic register system, which was introduced in 2016 to counter the grey economy and tax fraud, are therefore critically vulnerable, sources told the newspaper.
Respekt has just published a story which provides more detail on a recent successful intelligence operation carried out by country’s BIS counterintelligence service, an agency that has been criticised for incompetence by President Miloš Zeman. The weekly says that BIS shut down a group of Russian hackers, who were part of a wider international network, in early 2018.