Minister Ponders Media Reclassification After Cyberattack Skip to content

Minister Ponders Media Reclassification After Cyberattack

By Ragnar Tómas

Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir COVID-19
Photo: Golli. Left to right: Former Minister of Justice Áslaug Arna Snæbjörnsdóttir, Former Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir, and Former Minister of Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir.

Minister Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir has suggested that media organisations should be considered essential service operators under cybersecurity laws following a significant cyber attack on Árvakur. Áslaug Arna also supports estasblishing a collaborative platform to enhance Iceland’s cybersecurity efforts.

Reviewing inclusion of media

At a government meeting yesterday morning, Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir, the Minister of Higher Education, Science, and Innovation, informed the cabinet about the serious cyber attack on Árvakur – the publisher of Morgunblaðið, Mbl.is, and K100 – over the weekend, as well as the state of cybersecurity in the country. As noted by Mbl.is, this matter falls under her ministry’s jurisdiction.

During the meeting, she reviewed Árvakur’s status within the legal framework for the security of networks and information systems of critical infrastructure, noting that media companies are not currently listed as essential service operators.

In an interview with Mbl.is yesterday, Áslaug stated that this required further investigation: “The list follows foreign regulations and similar regulations are in effect in Iceland, in which the media are not included. I think this is important to consider, whether media should fall under such services.”

Áslaug Arna explained that this would, for instance, mean that CERT-IS, the state’s cybersecurity team, would have a direct role in the cybersecurity matters of media organisations.

Cybersecurity centre a possibility

As noted by Mbl.is, in a recent annual report, the Director of Electronic Communications Office of Iceland, Hrafn­kell V. Gísla­son, suggested the possibility of establishing a so-called cybersecurity centre in the country. Such a centre would coordinate all cybersecurity-related activities in Iceland. In a recent interview with Morgunblaðið, Hrafnkell noted that this arrangement has proven effective in other countries.

When asked whether the ministry was considering establishing such an operation, Áslaug replied thusly:

“We are working on establishing a collaborative platform for public entities and the business sector on cybersecurity this fall. This is part of the actions we have announced to significantly enhance cybersecurity in Iceland. Part of this involves comparing the organisational structure of cybersecurity in Iceland with the Nordic countries.”

Áslaug Arna emphasised the immense importance of strengthening cooperation and coordination between institutions and the business sector in this field “so that people can acquire knowledge, share experiences, and provide the available support.”

“I believe this collaborative platform will address many of the challenges described regarding information exchange, awareness, and risk assessment,” Áslaug stated.

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