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Lithuania to allot seven million euros to combat hackers

Lithuania has applied to host the European Cyber Security Competence Center, which is designed to develop technologies and develop protective measures. The Raimundas Karoblis, the Minister of National Defense of the Baltic Republic, openly links the request for its creation with the "Russian threat".The vulnerability of NATO's "eastern flank" continues to worry European countries, which believe that after the protests in Belarus, the issue of Russia's influence is more acute.

Lithuania will compete for hosting the institution with Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania and Spain.

Ministry of Defense of the Baltic Republic draws attention to the activity of China and Russia, which are often associated with the hacker threat.

The Minister of Defense claims that "Russian cyber attacks happen quite often," although at the same time he makes a reservation: it is very difficult to formally establish the "authorship" of hacker attacks.

According to him, this is accompanied by information campaigns. It is likely that the work of the European Cybersecurity Competence Center will also be aimed at countering those information messages that will be considered propaganda in Vilnius. By the way, Lithuania offers to place the institution itself in the Vilnius TV tower.

It is worth noting that in January, the Prime Minister of the Republic Saulius Skvernialis called Lithuania "a leader in the field of information security". According to him, this area is a priority for the Baltic Republic.

In addition, Lithuania ranked fourth in the Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) with a score of 0.908 points. The rating was led by the United Kingdom, which scored 0.931 points. The second and third places are occupied by the United States (0.926) and France (0.918). The top five is completed by Estonia, whose security level was estimated at 0.905 points.

Lithuanian authorities often claim cyber attacks and "Russian interference” without providing any evidence of the "guilt" of the Russian side. Moscow denied all such accusations and stressed that they were "absolutely unfounded".

However, Lithuania is currently concerned about military activity near its borders, which, according to its estimates, has increased against the background of the Belarusian events.

Lithuania accused the Russian media of misinformation


Lithuania has published an annual report submitted by the Ministry of Defense, in which it accused the Russian media of misinformation.

According to Lithuanian experts, the number of complex cyberattacks in the Baltic Republic has increased, which were more advanced both in terms of technological solutions and in terms of content.

According to them, some Russian publications form a negative image of Lithuania, and its image is not true.

The Ministry noted that the image of Lithuania as a hostile and unreliable state is being created. Russian Media uses content that incites war and national hatred, as well as falsified facts, video editing, and deliberately distorted statements.

According to the Ministry of Defense, the flow of such information increases during significant events in foreign policy and within the country in order to form a negative image of Lithuania in the West.

It should be noted that Russian journalists are regularly hindered from performing their professional duties in the Baltic States. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Russian media in the Baltic States are being persecuted for historical truth.

It is interesting to add that on April 16, Lithuanian Vice Minister of Defense Edwinas Kerza stated that the routers used in Lithuania to distribute wireless Internet are made not in China, but in Russia, and send user data to servers in the Russian Federation.

"They were common, and still widely distributed, because they are budget-class routers that are quite productive, that is, fast and inexpensive… And as we have established, although they were supposed to be produced in Taiwan, they are actually produced in Russia," said Kerza.

It is reported that the model that attracted such close attention to the Lithuanian military has already been removed from the sale. The security services are concerned that, according to the Vice Minister, up to 90% of routers in the country are of Russian origin, and potentially spy on Lithuanian citizens.

Lithuania leads a European Union Cyber Rapid Response Team (CRRT) at the European Union


Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Croatia, and Estonia signed a Memorandum on the establishment of a European Union Cyber Rapid Response Team (CRRT). In the event of a cyber attack on any of the countries participating in the agreement, CRRT specialists should be ready to immediately repel the attack. Lithuania played a special role in creating this structure. Experts note that the EU has a really difficult situation with ensuring cybersecurity since not all States have the resources to repel hacker attacks. However, analysts doubt the effectiveness of CRRT.

Lithuanian Minister of Defense Raimundas Karoblis noted that this is a completely new international cyber potential, initiated and led by Lithuania and that each country faces cybersecurity problems.
According to the cybersecurity specialist, Andrei Masalovich, now the problem of protection against cyberthreats is facing not only the poor countries of the Baltic States but even the United States.

President of the Russian Association for Baltic Studies Nikolai Mezhevich believes that the attempts of the Lithuanian leadership to take a leading role in the organization of a pan-European cyber defense are largely dictated by the desire to improve the image of Lithuania.

In addition, according to Andrei Masalovich, the Lithuanian authorities also want to "show their importance" against the background of Estonia.

As for the possible source of the threat, all countries in the CRRT blamed Moscow for cyber attacks. For example, in 2018, the Netherlands accused Russian hackers of attacking the headquarters of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. In the Baltic States, Russia is regularly suspected of cyberattacks.

Moscow, in turn, calls for the creation of "confidence-building measures in cyberspace" at the global level. This was stated last year by the special representative of the President of the Russian Federation for information security, Ambassador of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Special Assignments Andrei Krutskikh.