Italy forms cybersecurity agency to counter Russian 'interference'

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Jun 11, 2021, 04:37 PM(IST)

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The cybersecurity agency will need to "protect national interests and the resilience of services and essential functions of the State from cyber threats," said the government in a statement

Italy has created a cybersecurity agency. The step has come after the country's Prime Minister Mario Draghi warned that Europe needed to protect itself from Russian interference. The approval for the new agency was given in a meeting late on Thursday.

The cybersecurity agency will need to "protect national interests and the resilience of services and essential functions of the State from cyber threats," said the government in a statement.

On May 25, Draghi spoke in Brussels following a European Union summi and said that urgent action was needed against digital threats.

"We need to strengthen ourselves, we need to strengthen ourselves a lot, especially in terms of cybersecurity, all of us, at national level and at EU level... because the level of [Russian] interference both with spies and with manipulation of the web has become truly alarming," he said.

Earlier this year, an Italian navy captain was caught red-handed by police while selling confidential military documents, leaked from his computer, to a Russian embassy official.

The new cybersecurity agency was tasked with developing strategies to prevent, monitor, detect and mitigate cyber attacks and stepping up national defences.

The agency, which according to media reports will employ around 300 people, will be controlled by Draghi and his security services advisor, ex-police chief Franco Gabrielli. The new head of cybersecurity agency is yet to be appointed

Draghi, a former European Central Bank chief, has been quite active on intelligence matters since he was appointed in February to lead a national unity government. 

Last month, he named Elisabetta Belloni, a career diplomat, to lead Italy's secret services. She is the first woman to occupy the post. 

The Corriere della Sera named Roberto Baldoni, a computer engineering professor who already works on cybersecurity with intelligence services, and Nunzia Ciardi, head of the internet police, as the top candidates.

(With inputs from agencies)

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