Irish Information Security Forum

Cybersecurity - our digital anchor - a European perspective

Source: EU joint research centre


The spread of digital technologies is contributing to improve the well-being of modern society.


They allow us to do things that were unthinkable 10 years ago. They give us the access to an enormous amount of knowledge.

However, they can also make us more vulnerable. Cyber attacks can shock our society. One attack can destroy your livelihood (e.g. identity theft). It can instantly affect millions of people (e.g. shutting down a power plant).


To defend our digitalised society requires a completely different, systemic approach to cybersecurity.


The report “Cybersecurity, our digital anchor” looks at a new “life-style of resilience" to the cyber threats.

We all need to do our part for cybersecurity.




Key findings

1. Cybersecurity is no longer a technological ‘option’, but a societal need.

With the COVID-19 pandemic came a large-scale move to teleworking and digital services. The coronavirus outbreak accelerated the digitalisation of our society. Digitalisation now touches every aspect of our society. It exposes everyone’s daily life to cyber threats – directly or indirectly. Cyber attacks can hit millions of people at once. As a result, cybersecurity is today a focal point of Europe security and stability.


2. We need a paradigm shift for cybersecurity. Cybersecurity needs to be set up from the start of any new digital service.

We’re moving towards an open-data and interconnected society. A society with 25 billion connected things by 2021 (Gartner).

The potential number of victims and the risks to people’s life are high. We need new approaches to cybersecurity, which rely on resilience and adaptability.


3. Cybersecurity needs a collective effort. We all should be equipped to do our part in cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity is a framework. Everything, from the system design and policies to the usability and people’s attitude adds to securing our digital world. It links to the evolution of technologies. This includes industrial and societal processes that need protection. Cybersecurity requires a deep societal engagement and understanding - from the child playing with a toy to the policy maker shaping digital legislation.


4. Cybersecurity requires coherent and coordinated cyber secure policies by design.

Emerging new technologies will open up the digital world to new opportunities. Artificial intelligence, blockchain, quantum, etc. will also expose us to new cyber threats. The digitalisation of our society implies that industrial sectors are interconnected. Weaknesses can spread from one sector to the others. Cybersecurity policies need to be coherent and interoperable across sectors.


5. Cybersecurity is a pillar of the European sovereignty for the future.

The threat of a “cyber Pearl Harbor” attack against the critical infrastructures of any country is very real. Attackers are moving fast, do not abide by the rules and are not subject to any restrictions. A European Union with a strong cybersecurity culture and technology can protect our digital sovereignty.


Download the report
Report cover: cybersecurity - our digital anchor




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