Belgium plans to spend more than €110 million to beef up the nation's cyber security and capabilities.
As part of Belgium's €5.9 billion recovery plan, €61 million will be spent upgrading the nation's ability to operate in cyberspace, Belga News Agency reports.
A cyber attack in mid-December knocked out the Belgian Defence Ministry's computer network for four weeks. Staff members were unable to send external emails and many relied on apps such as WhatsApp to get work done, The Brussels Times previously reported.
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"These investments will ensure that Belgium is able to protect its infrastructure against cyberattacks and, if necessary, to carry out a counter-attack," said Thomas Dermine, Secretary of State for Recovery and Strategic Investments, in charge of Science Policy, deputy to the Minister of Economy and Labor.
Dermine detailed the cyber investments while speaking at the 14th European Space Conference, held Tuesday and Wednesday at the Egmont Palace in Brussels. The recovery plan involves 105 investments and 35 reforms designed to prepare Belgium for ongoing digital and environmental changes. According to the European Commission, more than a quarter of the €5.9 billion plan is supporting digital upgrades.
"Belgium devotes substantial resources to cybersecurity. Most of the critical infrastructures across Europe (communications, air transport, maritime commerce, financial services, weather monitoring and defence) rely heavily on space for their daily operations. Cybercrime presents serious risks," Dermine said.