05:40 GMT01 April 2020
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    The WannaCry ransomware attack struck last week targeting the Microsoft Windows operating system and reportedly infected more than 230,000 computers in 150 countries. Turkey has sounded the alarm by announcing the creation of a cyberarmy to tackle this problem.

    Turkish Transportation and Communications Minister Ahmet Arslan announced the creation of a “cyberarmy” consisting of 13,000 “white hackers” to tackle the rising threat of cybercrime. Sputnik Turkey spoke to Turkish analysts about the creation of such an army.

    “Cyberattacks are a big threat, so we are strengthening the security structure. About 13,000 white hat hackers came to work in the public sector and are building a cyberarmy with five groups,” the minister told Hurriyet newspaper.

    The minister also noted that Turkey survived the large-scale cyberattack practically unscathed thanks to a warning that was sent out to all institutions and organizations.

    Turkish experts in an interview with Sputnik Turkey commented on this initiative. Selim Yuksel, Chairman of the Governing Council of the Association of Information Technologies and Cyber Security, said that although the work of the Institute of Information Technologies and Cybersecurity is particularly important, the issue of ensuring security mostly falls on the shoulders of individual users and organizations.

    “A few months earlier, hacker groups managed to get the cyber weapon of the US National Security Agency, with the help of which they were able to expand their range of attacks. Around the world, the systems of a large number of hospitals, organizations, including state ones, and even the metro system, collapsed,” Yuksel said.

    Turkish citizens are aware of the seriousness of this situation because for the past 3-4 years Turkey has suffered greatly from phishing.

    However, according to the chairman, the damage can be reduced. Often, due to the error of one employee the entire company becomes a target for hacker attacks.

    Therefore, in the field of information security, each user's actions are important.

    “As a result of the analysis carried out on the servers of banks, it was found that much in terms of preventing threat depended on the actions of the staff of the institutions,” Yuksel said.

    Despite the fact that the work of the Institute of Information Technologies and Cyber Security in the field of cyber security is of great importance, Turkey is still lagging behind in terms of protection from cyberattacks.

    “We hope that the cyberarmy, which the minister spoke about, will soon have not 13,000 people but 130,000 employees in its ranks,” the chairman said.

    In turn, a member of the Turkish Pirate Party (Korsan Parti Turkiye), Furkan Kalkan, believes that it is not necessary to exaggerate the role of the cyberarmy created by the Turkish Ministry.

    “We are talking about an attack that in a short time period completely stopped the work of organizations operating in such vital areas as the banking sector, health care system, telecommunications and the transport system,” Kalkan said.

    According to him, in such situations it would be much more useful not to create a “cyberarmy,” but to rather invest in user education and develop an information security policy.

    Currently, many world-renowned companies working in the field of information security, information technology and software are engaged in the study of WannaCry, but, unfortunately, they cannot prevent the spread of this malicious program, the member of the party said.

    “If hundreds of thousands of qualified specialists working at the same time cannot do this yet, then it's an illusion to think that it will be possible for 13,000 people,” Kalkan said.

    According to him, it is important that the concept of a cyberarmy is protected by the appropriate national policy.

    He also said, “You can continue to use the operating system, you only need to update it, if possible and use open source software. Of course, it's important to make an offline backup and if possible, encrypt important information from some types of extortion programs.”

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