A draft bill presented to the Cabinet on cybersecurity aims to address the country's concerns on increasing cyberattacks. If approved, it will boost cybersecurity especially in public agencies, which will be obliged to employ security experts and white hat hackers. Turkey lacks comprehensive regulations in combatting cyberattacks and the new bill seeks to boost the cybersecurity capacity of the country. The Information Technology and Communication Board (BTK), a cybersecurity watchdog, will coordinate the security efforts.
The bill will boost the authority of the National Intervention Center Against Cyber Attacks, a department of BTK handling the nationwide attacks, which will coordinate small teams of security experts in critical public agencies and large private corporations. Companies will be mandated to maintain tight security against cyberattacks and hiring security experts. The new bill also introduces a framework for confidentiality agreements with cybersecurity experts who will be liable in the cases of leaks and security breaches. With cyberattacks increasing on its security, Turkey has turned to "white hat" hackers to bolster its defenses in cyberspace, setting up a task force. A wave of cyberattacks both this and last year threatened both state agencies and the private sector in Turkey.
Recently, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak confirmed that cyberattacks have targeted his ministry, aiming to infiltrate the power grid. The country was subject to some 90 million cyberattacks this year. The attacks intensified to twice as many in the months leading up to the coup attempt, continuing even after it was quelled. Experts say some 45 percent of computers in Turkey are exposed to cyberattacks and that the country is fourth in the world in the number of "compromised" computers.
The Ministry of Telecommunications already employs hundreds of cyberattack intervention crews, both for the public and private sectors, but authorities complain about the lack of skilled experts. The government has already launched a national action plan for a cybersecurity strategy to improve its national firewall against attacks by terrorist groups, especially the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) blamed for the July 15 coup attempt. Unlike other terrorist groups that mostly exploit impoverished youths, FETÖ draws followers from all walks of life, from shopkeepers to highly skilled IT experts. It relies heavily on its infiltrators to collect data on its targets. FETÖ infiltators in police intelligence are accused of illegally wiretapping thousands and gathering intelligence on anyone deemed hostile by the terrorist group.