In recent years, Albania has significantly expanded its capacity-building activities, modernising both the relevant institutional apparatus and the diplomatic outreach accompanying it. Since 2017, ALCIRT, Albania’s national CSIRT, has been given an expanded mandate and merged with the National Authority for Electronic Certification and Cyber Security (AKCESK). AKCESK is responsible for preparing strategic documents relating to cybersecurity, drafting legislation, collaborating with relevant stakeholders (international organisations, civil society organisations, the private sector) and providing training. [x
] Through AKCESK, Albania has signed Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with several regional national CERTs (Kosovo, North Macedonia, Romania) and is currently negotiating similar MoUs with Serbia, Montenegro, Cyprus, and Slovenia. [x
] AKCESK also frequently collaborates with the Council of Europe in relation to incident response and awareness training. [x
] As a member of NATO, Albania signed the MoU with the NATO Cyber Incident Response Centre (NCIRC) on enhancing cyber defence in 2013 [x
] and has participated in numerous NATO-led training initiatives, including the flagship Cyber Coalition exercise. Meanwhile, increased emphasis has been placed on the protection of critical infrastructure, with a 2015 government paper stating that future actions will be focused on “the protection and resilience capacity of critical infrastructure” and on “encouraging operators that own them to implement a full security architecture (including risk management and emergencies)”. [x
] In 2020, Albania adopted its first-ever cybersecurity regulation for the electricity sector, which establishes incident reporting and assessment criteria for electricity operators. [x
] This was reportedly only the first of many planned initiatives intended to reduce the country’s cyber vulnerabilities and increase trust in digital services.
Serbia’s legislative framework on cybersecurity is structured upon the 2016 Law on Information Security
and its bylaws. The Law ushered in several institutional developments, including the creation of a national CERT in the regulatory agency for electronic communications and postal services (RATEL). The national CERT “monitors the status of incidents on national level, provides early warnings, alerts and announcements, and reacts on incidents by providing the information on affected entities and persons”. [x
] It also holds seminars and technical trainings for operators of special importance (critical infrastructure) [x
Meanwhile, the 2021 Cyber Tesla drill
(organised in collaboration with the US state of Ohio) constitutes only one example of Serbia’s increased emphasis on critical infrastructure through the prism of cyber defence; the stated objectives included the “construction of military defence system capacities and the National CERT’s capacities for the protection from high-tech attacks, as well as an enhanced cooperation with relevant government and private sector organisations and academic institutions for the purpose of protection of the IT systems”.
In its UNGGE position paper
in 2016, Serbia emphasised the importance of interstate cooperation in “maintaining effective and responsive mechanisms for information exchange, alerts and announcements on cybersecurity incidents”. The paper goes on to posit that “the special focus should be on the protection of critical infrastructure”, especially in the case of transnational attacks. In 2021, Norway donated a platform worth €1.2 million which will “[serve] to hold cyber exercises at the national level enables the real situation of different attack scenarios, and will contribute to capacity building and training of officials in various state institutions”, according to State Secretary of the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications Milos Cvetanovic [x