Uniformed Gendarmerie arrived in numbers at the 10th Forum International de la Cybersecurite in Lille, France, this week (22, 24 January), a clear indicator of government support for, and prioritisation of cyber-security by the French authorities.
In the opening session, cyber-resilience, fantasy or reality, we all hoped that the conclusion was going to be ‘reality': it would have put a bit of a dampener on the remaining two days if we had all been told to give up now.
Sure enough, while not underestimating the challenges faced, striving for resilience, carrying on in the face of adversity was indeed called for, but in particular, through cooperation. This includes both cross border cooperation on a European and global basis, as well as cooperation between public and private sectors, as well as between industry and the general public.
In fact Major General de la Gendarmerie Nationale General Christian Rodriguez began his presentation with the statement that, “We cannot act alone - the answer is strategic. Our democracies at at stake.” He noted how the first FIC event, established 10 years ago, had, “All our forces joined,” including ANSSI, and specialised groups within the French armed forces among others. But while the threats are not just national, but international, it is also necessary to get people involved at the local level.
He added that there has been a digital transformation of the cyber-chain, a growth in 3CN cyber-investigations, more investigations of digital crimes and one cyber-contact in each brigade, and the Gendarmerie has also created a scientific brigade for the roll out of innovative tools for cyber.
It was also suggested that in addition to delivering increased threats, hyper connection could also be taken advantage of by cyber-defenders, much like Judo, taking advantage of your opponent's weight by moving with more speed. So we should use hyperconnected societies to improve how we raise the alarm, use feedback, including using social networks, to ensure security of information processing.
A further requirement was to plan a census to identify the role of connected objects, and how they are exploited in order to better fight them. The aim is to find how to guarantee resilience of society, whether ditgital forms etc; the role is to protect citizens and the resilience of the state.
In an interview with SC Media UK, Nicolas Duvinage, Head of Gendarmerie C3N explained further.
Jean-Noel de Galzain, president Hexatrust waded in with the all too likely nightmare scenario of the first army to use interlinked technology to build the first robot that needs decide when to shoot a human will have added a complete new risk to humanity - suggesting we are entering this new era in 2018. AI, digital factories, software behind tech, new digital identities, the role of the state - all are changing and already in Estonia all children get a digital identity which confers access to services. Another result will be the need to create mega digital files and save them outside our own countries, thus creating a critical need for data protection.
“Sovereignty is of the essence,” says de Galzain, adding that European industry needs a truthful industry. “Many countries are coming together which share values. France should play a leading role. There will be significant job creation - we lack some 1.8 million people for the cyber-security vacancies that exist. We can provide European solutions. Want franco-european champions. We must create bridges between startups, enterprises and SMEs, share and develop innovation. A €150 million fund available is a start. Working with large companies and Essential Service Operators, companies need to invest in new solutions and make choices [as to what products and approaches should be used as best practice] and use these solutions in your specifications.