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Belarusian secure government communications system's capabilities, future plans described

Society 21.11.2019 | 14:56
Stanislav Zas (right) during the government conference
Stanislav Zas (right) during the government conference

MINSK, 21 November (BelTA) – State Secretary of the Security Council of Belarus Stanislav Zas have told reporters about results of the government conference hosted by the head of state earlier on 21 November to discuss the development of the government communications system, BelTA has learned.

Stanislav Zas said: “Any system has to be protected from any encroachment. One of the tasks assigned to the Operations and Analysis Center [the head of state previously instructed the agency to check progress in efforts to create a secure communications system] was to detect vulnerabilities and try to get access to this communications system. They couldn't do it.”

Belarus president hosts conference to discuss government communications systemBelarus president hosts conference to discuss government communications system
Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “I would like to pick up the conversation we started when we visited the relevant secure communications facilities. Today I would like to talk about our further steps, including shortcomings."

Stanislav Zas noted that the government conference had reviewed the work done this year in two stages to examine the state of affairs, define prospects, and reveal problems.

An interagency working group was established in spring to evaluate the effectiveness of implementation of the state program on developing the government communications system. “In addition to evaluating how money allocated for the program was spent they had to evaluate the overall situation and whether the investments had been poured in the right direction,” the state secretary said.

During the second stage that was finished a short while ago the Operations and Analysis Center examined vulnerabilities in the secure government communications system and the weak spots that need polish.

“Results were discussed today. On the whole, all segments of the secure government communications system were discussed including the stationary one and the mobile one,” Stanislav Zas said.

The official noted that substantial steps had been taken to develop the stationary communications system. “We have fully phased out the Soviet legacy. The entire system now relies on new hardware. Purely Belarusian encryption hardware is used to make communications secure. At present the localization rate of the primary equipment is 80%. We don't expect any problems in this regard. We just have to improve what we have.”

Talking about secure mobile communications, Stanislav Zas said: “It is a new endeavor for the country. We started working on it from scratch virtually several years ago. We had to find our own specialists, take care of scientific research and R&D.”

Stanislav Zas said that the final stage of the test operation of the mobile communications system is now in progress. A number of phones that look like regular models have been distributed among officials and are now in use. “Vulnerabilities and weaknesses are being determined. The system has its own strong points. Secure communications is the key one. And there are weak points – quality of communications. We will have to work on that. The head of state mentioned it and gave the relevant instructions. Next year we will have to finish the work and provide top government officials with quality secure mobile communications service,” he stated.

Asked to clarify whether government-issue mobile phones will have some analogs of popular instant messengers, the official noted it was a possibility.

Stanislav Zas also remarked that a secure data sharing system already works in Belarus. It allows sharing documents. The official also stressed the considerable export potential of Belarusian secure communications solutions. “We already have potential buyers,” he said.

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