Ukrainian businesses must invest in the local IT sector to prevent cyberattacks

We are living increasingly connected lives, with almost half of the world’s population, in addition to several billion ‘things’, reliant upon online networks. As Stepan Chernovetskyi, president of Chernovetskyi Investment Group says, the latter contribute to the ever expanding Internet of Things (IoT), which now includes regular household items.

Whilst people knowingly use such gadgets, like home appliances and smart metres, it is surprising just how far such technology has infiltrated society. The IoT has become indispensable to most businesses; machines capable of inter-communication have taken over both regular and complicated behind-the-scenes tasks in the everyday routine of public and private organisations. The internet has thus become tangible: it has the ability to impact the material world and is no longer limited to a virtual realm.

Naturally, this expansive network can become the focus of targeted attacks. For example, if a smart metre turns the heating off when it senses you have left the house, a hacker could determine whether a house was empty using the same methods, transforming an item of convenience into a weak spot.

On a larger scale, whole cities and countries could fall victim. Ukraine, in addition to Europe and the US, provides a recent example of a targeted hack which caused major internal problems for government bodies, airports and banks, the latter of whose ATM’s stopped working.

Unfortunately, the ongoing war in Ukraine contributes dramatically to the agenda of cyber-defence as a critical component of national security. These threats stimulate the development of new technologies and creative ideas offered by both professionals and amateurs eager to serve their country in these challenging times.

Such resources should be further mobilised and supported as the government needs to be able to recruit local IT analysts to safeguard national organisations; it would be both dangerous and expensive to rely upon external contractors.

It is, therefore, very positive to hear that Ukraine’s First vice prime minister, Stepan Kubiv, announced plans to further the new National Industrial Policy, which is intended to identify priorities for the sector, with a focus on IT in particular. It pushes for the development of a sophisticated local digital infrastructure, based on a combination of classic academic education and a new business model, both with the intention of aiding young talents to establish new businesses.

Stepan Chernovetskyi

This will give fruitful results in various areas, including defence and cybersecurity. However, it requires an investment in the future now. Such legislation should absolutely be both welcomed and encouraged, and whilst the support of the government in the legal sphere is crucial, Ukrainian businesses must take it upon themselves to provide the required investments. If an effective domestic IT industry is to be established over the next decade, the onus must be on the private sphere.

Undoubtedly invigorating the Ukrainian IT sector will not be an easy project, however, it is a necessary one, as individuals, businesses and other organisations are increasingly reliant upon an IT network to function.

Ukraine already produces a strong base of talented workers, therefore, with an influx of local investment to both attract foreign business and provide opportunities for local companies, the diaspora of IT graduates could be minimised.

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