System/Network Administrators from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia¹ train in cyber defence
System/Network Administrators from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia participated in a cyber defence training course at the Informatics Institute of the Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara, Turkey from 8 April to 19 April. The training course was supported by the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme and developed in close cooperation by experts from Turkey, Canada, and Georgia.
The training had two main objectives: creating an institutional capability and increasing public awareness on cyber threats and possible protective measures. "The purpose of this training is for attendees to gain basic, practical knowledge of network security so that they can maintain resilience in the face of current cyber threats," explains Dr. Nazife Baykal, Director of the METU Informatics Institute in Ankara and a Co-Director of the Advanced Training Course (ATC).
The course was initiated with a welcome message from the President of METU, Dr. Ahmet Acar. In his speech, Mr. Orbay, Head of the Department NATO and Euro-Atlantic Security Bilateral Political-Military Relations from the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasised the significance of the training course in enhancing regional cooperation between partner countries and confronting the increasing need for qualified personnel in cyber security.
Speeches were also given by Mr. Mete Arslan, Head of the Department Communication, Electronic and Information Systems, Undersecretariat for Defence Industries; Ambassador Goran Taskovski of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; Irakli Lomidze, a Georgian cyber defence specialist; and, Dr. Deniz Yüksel-Beten, Senior SPS & Partnership Cooperation Advisor for the NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme. A keynote speech was delivered by Dr. Guy Vezina, Director General, Science & Technology Army Defence Research & Development, Department of National Defence, Canada.
Exploring cyber threats and preventive measures
The training course was offered to network and system administrators from a variety of government departments with some previous knowledge or experience in networking, information technology, and information security. The 10-day course covered cyber security awareness, pre-emptive security strategies, and threat identification and response. In addition to the lectures, laboratory sessions enabled the trainees to implement their newly acquired knowlegde of cyber threats and defensive measures in an interactive environment.
Upon returning to their own institutions, trainees will be better placed to protect their networks and systems against several types of cyber attack. Vladimir Mirchevski, a system administrator from the Ministry of Finance of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, is one of the 15 attendees who participated in the course. He noted, “the hands-on sessions that we participated in were beneficial for us. We gained the essential practical knowledge on cyber defence methodology which we can apply to our own systems.”