There are three key challenges for which Europe needs to find answers appropriate to the region, according to Norbert Pohlmann, chairman of IT security association TeleTrust.
“We have to discuss the challenges around privacy, industrial espionage and cyber war to find solutions that are relevant to Europe,” he told the ISSE 2015 security conference in Berlin.
Pohlmann began by discussing the challenges around privacy, highlighting the cultural differences on this issue between Europe and the US.
“Research has shown that, when asked whether private data belongs to companies, 76% of US respondents said ‘yes’ compared with just 22% of European respondents,” he said.
Another key area that needs to be resolved is the problematic business model where services are provided in exchange for personal data.
“We need to find ways to change this and move to business models where private data remains private and alternative means of payment are provided,” he said.
At a state level, Pohlmann said there needed to be significant policy changes to ensure that it is clear what national security agencies are and are not allowed to do, regarding personal data.
“There needs to be greater transparency and safeguards that ensure the rights and autonomy of individuals are respected,” he said.
Industrial espionage is a key area that needs to be addressed in Europe, in the light of the theft of industrial secrets that cost around €51bn a year in Germany alone.
“This is too high a cost for the economy and we need to do more to protect intellectual property more effectively,” said Pohlmann.
Cyber crime is taking a high economic toll, costing Germany alone around €100m a year.
National infrastructure defence
Pohlmann identified distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks as being a key area that needs to be tackled. “Anti-DDoS capabilities will be important in future as cyber criminals increasingly use this attack method,” he said.
Finally, he said cyber war needs greater attention because the possibility of cyber attack on critical national infrastructure puts any society at a higher level of vulnerability.
“We have to adjust to the reality of cyber war because it is much easier and cheaper than conventional war, making it a more likely form of attack in future,” he said.
For this reason, he said European member states need to ensure all IT systems supporting critical national infrastructure are as secure and resistant to cyber attack as possible.