On 8th to 9th October this year, Kraków hosted the 4th European Cybersecurity Forum – CYBERSEC 2018, one of the most important conferences of this type in Europe. Thanks to it, Kraków has become the centre of international discussion on digital security.
The event was attended by specialists responsible for creating cybersecurity policies of governments and important private enterprises, experts from leading industries, representatives of the private sector, as well as investors and technology start-ups from all around the world. The Forum aimed at developing practical and innovative solutions to strengthen cybersecurity in the European Union and NATO.
Not just cybercrime
Although cybersecurity is naturally associated with fighting cybercrime, it is not only limited to this issue. Its definition covers the security of personal, company or national computer systems. The biggest challenges at the beginning of 2018 included, among others, the security problem of Intel processor architecture. The global scale of this revelation has shown that it affects all users of the digital world.
The critical vulnerability required updating the kernel, which translated into a decrease in productivity and thus the financial results of many enterprises. In order to maintain the current level of computing power, various institutions (from micro-enterprises to corporations, banks, offices and scientific institutions) had to purchase subsequent units.
Challenges of our time
Terrorism is still a worldwide challenge and we are not just talking about terrorist organizations – today, even individual people are able to use the web to anonymously buy prohibited goods (e.g. weapons). Another threat is the digital interference in the democratic electoral process. This was the case, for example, in the United States in 2016 or Germany in 2017.
The country that is considered the first victim of a cyber-attack, which was supposed to destabilize all IT systems, is Estonia – an all-out attack took place just a decade ago. Apart from people, businesses, or institutions, also countries can become victims. On the other hand, they – not always legally – can also use their technological advantage in international relations.
For years, malicious software (the so-called malware), i.e. various harmful programs that attempt to infect a computer or mobile device, has constituted a problem. Such programs have been used for various purposes – from stealing personal data, passwords and money, to blocking access to devices.
Today, another threat is their upgraded version called ransomware (combination of English words “ransom” and “software”). It is blackmailing software, which blocks access to the computer system and then demands a ransom for its restoration. In 2017, it brought losses of USD 5 billion, while a year earlier only USD 850 million.
As cybercriminals’ attacks are directed at progressively lower levels of IT infrastructure (hoping for their poor protection), their intensification in the face of the significantly growing Internet of Things (IoT) is expected.
IoT stands for objects connected to the Internet and coupled in a network of processes and data – from smart household appliances, through intelligent cars and homes. As the ultimate goal is to create smart spaces, and even cities, they are already becoming a challenge for digital security developers.
This year, Polish law was subject to changes in the area of cybersecurity. Greater data protection, in particular within institutions, is to be provided by, among others, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (Polish abbreviation: RODO) and the Act on the National Cybersecurity System of August 2018. The goal of the latter is to create the National Cybersecurity System (NCS),
which will include government and self-government administration institutions as well as the largest entrepreneurs from key sectors of the economy. This system is to enable efficient actions aimed at detecting, preventing and minimizing the effects of attacks violating cybersecurity of the Republic of Poland.