General to head Poland’s new cyber unit


Poland has appointed an Army General to head a new Cyber Defense Force to officially launch the unit’s operation, the country’s defense minister said in February 2022.

Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said the Force’s mission includes defense, reconnaissance and, if need be, offensive actions to protect Poland’s Armed Forces from cyberattacks.

“We are perfectly aware that in the 21st century, cyberattacks have become one of the tools of aggressive politics, also used by our neighbor,” Blaszczak said, referring to Russia. “For that reason, these capabilities are of fundamental, key nature to Poland’s Armed Forces.”

Blaszczak appointed Brig. Gen. Karol Molenda to head the unit, which will cooperate closely with the National Center for Cyber Security, initiated in 2019.

Poland’s state offices and companies occasionally fall victim to hacking, and the announcement came just days before the Polish government and the national system for payment clearing experienced cyberattacks, Reuters reported.

Polish cybersecurity official Janusz Cieszynski, speaking on Polish public radio, said authorities had not identified the source of the attacks, which came as Russia pressed a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Poland’s eastern neighbor.

Ukraine has suffered a series of cyberattacks in recent weeks that Kyiv blamed on Russia. “The website of the (Polish) national clearing system and servers dedicated to the government email network have been attacked,” Cieszynski said.

Emails were apparently leaked in 2021 from the private account of Michal Dworczyk, the head of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s office, and made available on the internet, presenting some government officials and their decisions in a negative light.

Also last year, Canadian experts determined that a Polish senator, lawyer and prosecutor were hacked with NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware. They were the first confirmations that a tool widely abused globally by repressive governments had been used in the European Union country.