Dutch Assistance Crucial for Strengthening Moldova’s Cybersecurity

The Netherlands and Moldova are set to enhance their military collaboration. The Netherlands will contribute personnel and financial resources to the Cyber Rapid Response Team (CRRT), which aims to better equip Moldova to defend against Russian cybercrime. This additional expertise is critically needed by the country.

Presidential elections are scheduled in Moldova by the end of this year. President Sandu hopes to be reelected, aiming to lead the country into the EU during her second term. However, there is a powerful pro-Russian lobby determined to prevent her reelection. Moldova rightly fears a surge of Russian disinformation. This is also true for the referendum where citizens will vote for or against the current government’s course towards EU membership. This referendum is also planned for the fall.

Moldova Vulnerable to Cyber Attacks

Moldova is a poor country facing significant financial challenges, leaving little budget for cybersecurity. Despite limited funds, Moldova strives to prevent such cyber hacks, but there is a significant lack of expertise.

For this reason various EU member states individually support Moldova in countering Russian cyber attacks. Including Estonia, the Czech Republic and notably Romania, which has historically close ties with Moldova. Moldova also receives support within the EU framework through the Moldova Cybersecurity Rapid Assistance programme. The Cyber Rapid Response Team, to which the Netherlands will now actively contribute in Moldova, has been operational since April 2023. Besides the Netherlands, Lithuania, Poland and Romania are also participants. Germany provides indirect support.

CRRTs are part of the so-called PESCO program. PESCO, Permanent Structured Cooperation, represents military collaboration among all EU member states, excluding Malta. Notably, PESCO operates on a voluntary basis within a legally established framework.

It is not only Moldovan political institutions that are at risk from Russian cybercrime. Cybersecurity is extremely vulnerable across all conceivable sectors. For instance, to reduce vulnerabilities in energy supplies, Moldova and NATO conducted a joint exercise in March this year.

All these initiatives highlight the continuous need for attention to Moldovan cybersecurity. Read more about it at the British think tank Royal United Services Institute.

Russian Cyber Attacks Will Be At Their Highest This Autumn

How do the Russians carry out their cyber attacks on Moldovan government institutions? The site Security Affairs reports that the Russians mostly employ known tactics like DDoS attacks and phishing e-mails. Since the onset of the war in Ukraine, the scale of Russian cyber attacks against Moldova has significantly increased.

On April 18th, the date concerning the presidential elections and the referendum concerning joining the EU has been announced. Both will take place on October 20th. President Maia Sandu hopes to link her current popularity with a positive result of the simultaneously held referendum. Her political party PAS, which favours joining the EU, has the support of 56.5% of Moldovan voters who agree with it.

The Cyber Rapid Response Team thus knows what to do. Make sure Moldovan cybersecurity will be robust enough to withstand the expected increase of Russian cyber attacks the latest this summer.

Link to the Ministry of Defence article featuring the photo above of Ollongren and Sandu.


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