Thursday, 26 October 2017
[This interview has been shortened for length.]
The EU public-private partnership (PPP) on cybersecurity was started in July 2016. What are you doing now?
It’s been a little more than one year. We have almost doubled the number of members we have in the association. Cybersecurity has become a topic that’s very high on the political and economic agenda this year for different reasons, for political reasons, for the Commission but also for all our members. Having national public administrations in the PPP, not only in the board of directors but also directly in our working groups, is a real added value because it makes a difference with respect to other initiatives, other PPPs. Because security is sensitive, security still remains a sovereignty issue and the fact that having national public administrations’ experts in the working groups makes the recommendations we issue [to the Commission] much more mature than simply if they were recommendations from industry.
Does the fact that cybersecurity is now a more urgent topic on the political agenda this past year have to do with some of the high profile hacking incidents that happened this year, like WannaCry?
WannaCry was ransomware. If you look at the statistics, ransomware is still not the most important threat in cybersecurity, I think it’s the third. It is not on the top of the list, but it has been advertised very much so it created a kind of increased awareness. I think it’s important to understand that cyber threats are really increasing and can potentially disrupt society. But my impression was that the most important effect was on the political level. The threat that national administrations have seen of cybersecurity as a threat against the political democratic life, the threat against democratic life, this has really pushed cybersecurity in the political agenda a lot.
You’re referring to incidents involving elections?
Exactly. They call it the threat to democratic life, that’s the jargon they use.
When the Commission started the PPP last year, there was a clear goal to raise €1.8 billion in investment funds by 2020. How close are you to that goal?