A cyberattack on key networks could have a “substantial” impact on the country’s stability and economy, the Malta Security Service (MSS) said in its 2019 annual report.

The 2019 and 2020 annual reports by the secretive agency were tabled in parliament.

In its 2019 report, the MSS said the country needs to invest in entities working in the cyber sphere by providing all the necessary financial and human resources.

The MSS said 2019 saw numerous cyberattacks in Malta, some of which were targeted at government systems and others at private companies.

A similar theme emerges from the 2020 report, with the MSS again flagging attempts to attack government networks.

The MSS said the biggest threat was observed from phishing attempts via e-mail.

On the Daphne Caruana Galizia 2017 murder, the MSS said the serious organised crime unit, set up after the killing, continued with its efforts in 2019.

It said the November 2019 arrests in connection with the case came about after months of work and collaboration with other entities, including the police.

Self-confessed murder middleman Melvin Theuma was arrested that month and businessman Yorgen Fenech charged with complicity in the murder.

The MSS said in the 2019 report that it is still working to gather useful information about the murder case.

Its reference in the 2020 reports about the major crime unit’s work was decidedly more sparse, with no reference to the Caruana Galizia case.

The MSS said that, as is the case in its other divisions, members of the unit carry out work according to the necessary needs and priorities.

On combatting drug trafficking, the MSS said many of its resources were tied up on drug crimes to the detriment of other work it is expected to carry out.

It said it is important for all the different forces to work together to use the country’s resources in the best possible way in this respect.

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