Joint efforts for more IT security are necessary
On 14 February 2019, the Munich Cyber Security Conference MCSC took place for the 5th time. The title of this year’s conference was „Security Meltdown – Paradigm Shift Needed?”.
On the eve of the Munich Security Conference, around 300 guests from more than 25 nations accepted the invitation of the Security Network Munich to the Hotel Bayerischer Hof to discuss the challenges that affect every company in a digitalized world. Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger and Bavarian Minister for Economic Affairs, Hubert Aiwanger, were patrons of the event.
In his welcoming address, Dr. Walter Schlebusch, Chairman of Security Network Munich, emphasized that cooperation between all stakeholders is indispensable for a successful IT security strategy. In his opening speech, EU Commissioner Sir Julian King appealed in particular to European companies to deal even more with issues such as digital sovereignty and related security issues. Europe must decide whether critical digital and communications structures should be outsourced or whether it wants to keep the reins in its own hands.
More information, more research, more cooperation
The first of three panels discussed the human factor in IT-security and its influence on cyber resilience. Kiersten Todt, Managing Director of the Cyber Readiness Institute (New York), called for an even stronger focus on educating society, especially children and young people in schools.
The second panel dealt with new technologies and the question of whether opportunities and risks are still in balance. In this context, the topic of AI in particular was discussed controversially. Quantum computers could render some encryption systems obsolete in just a few years. Constant research in this area is necessary, companies have to invest even more in research and development in order to keep up with developments such as post quantum cryptography.
The third panel discussed which role legal requirements and cross-state regulations play or should play in the area of IT security. The panelists largely agreed that the current efforts of government institutions on the one hand and the economy on the other were not yet sufficient to react to the daily growing risks. All stakeholders need to discuss which incentives could lead to an increase in efforts for more cyber security in order to include different perspectives.
Despite or precisely because of the multifaceted threat scenarios with which the economy, politics and society are confronted in terms of cyberspace, security expert Katie Moussouris called for security not to be regarded as an annoying burden, but as an ally and partner on the road to a more secure future: „Let’s have a love affair with IT security“.
Bruce Schneier: Responsibility should not be passed on to users
A special highlight of this year’s MCSC was the participation of Bruce Schneier, one of the world’s best-known and most recognized cryptologists and scientists in the field of IT security. In his statements, Schneier referred to the communication gap between politicians and technologists in the field of IT security, which has the consequence that programs and bills often completely ignore the technical possibilities and realities. Moreover, the responsibility for secure systems should not lie with the user. Anyone who gets on an aircraft can rely on the fact that the machines function and are properly maintained and operated. Users should also be able to assume that equipment has an adequate level of IT security, Schneier said.
At the end of the conference, EU Commissioner Günther Oettinger, guest of honor at the conference, encouraged the industry representatives present to work even more closely with industry and the public sector in the form of public-private partnerships in order to continuously increase protection against cyber risks. The strengthening of joint European innovation efforts could also be promoted through EU programs.