Krzysztof Gawkowski, Poland's digital minister
Krzysztof Gawkowski, Poland's digital minister. Image: Krzysztof Gawkowski / X

Poland to invest $760 million in cyberdefense as Russian pressure mounts

Poland is going to spend nearly $760 million to strengthen its defenses against ongoing cyberattacks from Russia, according to the country’s digital minister, Krzysztof Gawkowski.

During a press conference on Monday, Gawkowski said that Poland is “on the frontline of the cyber fight against Russia.” The new Cyber Shield program, which will cost the government 3 billion zloty, the local currency, is meant to improve the resilience of the country’s critical infrastructure and government services, he added.

The announcement came after hackers published a false article about military mobilization on the news feed of Poland's state news agency, PAP, late last week. According to Gawkowski, there are indications that Russia-sponsored hackers were responsible for this attack.

“Today, disinformation has become one of the key elements of building tension by various groups, which are often associated with the Russian or Belarusian flags,” he said during the press briefing this week.

Russia's embassy in Warsaw said it had no knowledge of the attack on PAP and dismissed accusations that Moscow is trying to destabilize Poland, a NATO member and former Soviet bloc country.

Election season

The latest incidents in Poland come at a critical time for the country and the whole of Europe as the EU is preparing for the parliamentary elections scheduled for this week. Poland will elect 53 members of the European Parliament on Sunday.

Ahead of the election, local authorities said they are on high alert for Moscow’s attempts to interfere in the vote. According to the country’s digital ministry, the cyberattacks have increased ahead of the elections and are part of a range of Moscow’s “hybrid activities.”

“For over a month, we have been observing that the number of cyberattacks on Poland has increased significantly,” Gawkowski said.

“The Russian Federation has one goal — to destabilize the situation and ensure that the forces supporting the breakup of the EU can benefit," he added.

Since the attack on PAP last week, Poland’s critical infrastructure has already been targeted by a series of attacks, according to Gawkowski. Earlier in May, Russian state-sponsored hackers targeted Polish government institutions in an espionage campaign, which was attributed to the hacker group APT28, also known as Fancy Bear, associated with Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU.

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Daryna Antoniuk

Daryna Antoniuk

is a reporter for Recorded Future News based in Ukraine. She writes about cybersecurity startups, cyberattacks in Eastern Europe and the state of the cyberwar between Ukraine and Russia. She previously was a tech reporter for Forbes Ukraine. Her work has also been published at Sifted, The Kyiv Independent and The Kyiv Post.