Today, at the initiative of the Union of Editors, a roundtable was held in the office of the Azerbaijan Security and Defence Public Association to discuss the security of internet media.
The discussion comes after the recent increase of hacking attacks which mainly targeted opposition and independent media. “Our mil.az website regularly faces hacking attacks,” said the Association head Yashar Jafarli.
Osman Gunduz, head of the Internet Forum, was more cautious on his approach to the issue, calling on the attendees not to rush into blaming internet problems on hackers. “This can be a systematic problem that emerges due to a weak website that cannot afford high number of visitors,” he said.
Hack attack reports have been received from the online publications of Yeni Musavat, Azadlig, Khural, and the contact.az websites.
According to Azerbaijan Media Center’s Gulnara Akhundova, an investigation of the problems on the website of Azadlig newspaper revealed that this resource was indeed hacked. Azerbaijan joined the International Convention on Cybercrime and the governement has recently held a cybercrime conference . However, the government has not fulfilled its obligations properly, and local legislation has not yet adapted to fit the demands of the convention.
Osman Gunduz said that the National Secutiry Ministry leads the fight against cybercrime, while the Interior Ministry also has jurisdiction over fraud crimes. However, there is no address that the internet media owners can turn to for defence, as the government has not yet developed these defense mechanisms.
The roundtable revealed that Azerbiajan’s internet media is obliged to turn to international experts for help, but even that does not ensure consistent defence.
The head of the "Prism" analytical center, Erkin Bagirov, pointed to the U.S. experience, where the protection of internet space is regarded as part of the country’s national security system and a special state organization commands a multi-billion dollar budget to protect American cyberspace. In Azerbaijan, very small funds are allocated for these purposes. It is necessary to create a single project to ensure the security of all Internet structures.
As a result of the two-hour discussion, three areas of activity were determined. First of all, it is necessary to begin forming an independent body that will assist in ensuring the security of internet resources, and to develop and promote the project of internet security. It was also decided to study international experiences in internet protection and use their experience to develop Azerbaijan’s internet defences. Finally, the Council of Editors decided to appeal to the National Security Ministry to publish rules for accepting applications from Web sources exposed to hacker attacks and commit to developing mechanisms to prevent these attacks.