FIC "has really become an unavoidable event for those who work in cyber-security," said Bernard Cazeneuve, France's current minister of the interior as he addressed a room full of Gendarmes, military officials, lawyers, IT professionals and former gendarmes at FIC 2016 in Lille, France.
Cazeneuve launched his speech on the back of a significant year for French security and the minister of the interior did not back down from putting the Paris attacks of November at the forefront of his address. "Never so far had we been faced with terrorist attacks that were so horrendous," said Cazeneuve.
"Fighting terrorism, as you know, is also something that needs to be taken into account in cyber-space," he said. "We know that most of the jihadists trying to go to Iraq or Syria were radicalised on the internet." Those recruiting them had been able to take advantage of "the evolution of 2.0 Internet".
Cazeneuve said that a major part of the French government's strategy is devoted to combatting exactly this threat. "We know how important it is beyond this security aspect to intervene upstream on the internet, to get rid of these terrorist forums. That's what's feeding the movement."
While legislation, enacted over the past few years, has enabled security services to do this in France, Cazeneuve called for these kinds of powers at the EU level, "a kind of european unit on references on the internet."
This kind of cooperation must not just be fostered on the inter-state level, but on civic and economic levels, too: "Not only do we need a national union and democracy to fight terrorism we also need a collaboration of the public powers."
That was the reason, according to Cazeneuve, that he decided last year to go to Silicon Valley, in order to strengthen the French government's relations with the leaders of the cyber-industry.
Civic policing must also adapt to the looming threat of cyber-crime. Victims of cyber-crime, including SMEs, must be helped and furnished with information to better protect themselves in the future.
Proposals are already on the table to modernise France's legal framework to keep up with the changing demands of cyber-security and millions in funding will be devoted to strengthening the fight against cyber-crime.
"International collaboration is key," concluded Cazeneuve. "The time has come to do away with internal partitions."
Also attending were the UK home secretary, Theresa May and John Hayes, the secretary of state for security within the Home Office. Hayes also gave a supplementary speech, launching it with an opening salvo of stuttered French.
Hayes largely reiterated Cazeneuve's exhortation for closer cooperation between countries, between citizen and state and between public and private bodies.
"The wider issues of cyber-security transcend borders and boundaries,” said Hayes. "I think we are strong together and it is vital that we use that strength not just to deal with today's cyber-threats – but to anticipate tomorrow's".
To that end, said Hayes, "We must work in partnership with business, public services and citizens."