Cyber security is a shared responsibility, EBS told

European security union Commissioner Julian King has warned that more cyberattacks on the scale of the recent one which paralysed computer systems throughout the world are very likely.

Cyber security is a shared responsibility, EBS told | Photo credit: Press Association

By Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at the Parliament Magazine

23 May 2017

Addressing the European Business Summit in Brussels, King said the attacks, whose targets included the National Health Service in the UK, should serve as a wakeup call.

King, responsible for the security union, said the public needed to realise the scale and scope of the cyber threat as was evidenced by the recent attack.

He said, "What was once the preserve of specialists is now the stock in trade of criminals and crooks who have the ability, as shown last week, to touch the lives of all of us."


King, speaking at a session on cyber security, said a clear-eyed and open response was necessary to tackle the cyber threat and the risks posed by such threats.

He said many now thought that cyber was the biggest criminal threat facing society and that, economically, it could be worth €375bn to €575bn.

"Clearly, it is a huge business but tackling it is a shared responsibility for us all."

Referring to last week's global attacks, he said, "We have to be prepared for more such interference. We have to take this threat very seriously, not as something that may happen to someone else."

David Francis, managing director of Huawei Cyber Security Union, told the debate that basic precautions by the public and others could help address the threat posed by cyber criminals.

Francis said that lessons, including a lack of systems maintenance, were still to be learned from the first known cyberattacks in the 1980s.

"The list of problems is as common now as it was then. But what we must not do is tell the public that this is a big, scary problem that will need big, scary solutions. We need, rather, to focus on doing the basics. If we did it would solve 80 per cent of the problems we face today."

He added, "People need to realise that cyber security is their responsibility, not someone else's and that is why we need to collaborate and share confidential information."

Francis said, "If we do this, and education is vital to this, then we have a sporting chance of benefiting from cyber without scaring citizens about the possible threats."

Former Belgian MEP Philippe de Backer, now state secretary for social fraud and security, said, "What is missing here is a sense of urgency. We have to realise this is a problem for today, not tomorrow."

Speaking separately at the EBS, Vincent Pang, president of Huawei's Western European Region, called for new partnerships in skills to develop ICT ecosystem across the EU.

He stressed the need for Europe to seize the opportunity for a smooth transition towards the connected age, saying the EU faces a small window over the next three to five years to invest. 

Speaking to the closing plenary of the first day of the annual gathering of business and policymakers, Pang called on decision-makers to ensure that curricula are adapted to equip younger generations with ICT skills. 

"The biggest issue for the digital agenda is about skills - the level of knowledge and whether Europeans have the necessary digital behaviours," he said, drawing parallels between the levels of 4G and digital payments in Europe versus other markets.

"Every EU business can help by working with government to train people to have digital skills and also by helping universities to sow the seeds for more digital innovation". 

Addressing the digital skills gap, Pang called industry digitisation a huge opportunity. 5G, IoT and AI will all lead to growth and opportunities in this tight window. His intervention also highlighted the importance of developing the interdependency of the ICT ecosystem, which will grow even stronger as the IoT grows. 

"This is a unique opportunity for Europeans to lead innovation."

Pang said, "We believe Europe is one of the most creative and innovative markets and the global innovation ecosystem will help bring more opportunities." 

The EU needs large-scale investments in technological innovation and contributions from both the public and the private side are vital to driving progress, the Regional President emphasised. It is only by translating today's profits into tomorrow's competencies that we will be able to build sustainable competitiveness. 

"Huawei is committed to supporting Europe's successful transition towards the digital age," said Pang.

"By maintaining a high level of investment in Europe, we believe we can help achieve sustainable growth across sectoral and geographical boundaries. 

"We think young people need to be at the forefront of adapting the new digital behaviours and that's why we are sponsoring future talent and young entrepreneurs; together, we must all work with government to educate communities and consumers to adapt new digital mindsets, behaviours and skills."


Read the most recent articles written by Martin Banks - MEPs greet Joe Biden presidency as beginning of 'new era' for transatlantic relations


Tech & Research
Share this page