Cyber attacks on critical infrastructure is now the norm, not a trend!

Cyber attacks on critical infrastructure is now the norm, not a trend! says Dr. Evangelos Ouzounis, Head of Unit – Secure Infrastructure and Services, European Union Agency for Network and Information Security

At this month’s Critical Infrastructure Protection and Resilience, Europe (CIPRE), leading stakeholders from across Europe and indeed around the world once again came together in The Hague to learn, discuss and debate some of the crucial issues and threats facing all nations, in ensuring the normal functioning of critical infrastructure in the face of increased threats of terrorism and crime, as well as natural and manmade disasters.

The deliberate targeting of critical infrastructure by criminals, foreign powers and terrorists is now a fact of modern life. Our vulnerability to this kind of hostile activity is only going to increase as we depend more and more on information technology to manage these systems.

So whether it is physical threats, like the sniper attack that knocked out a substation in California and the deliberate sabotage of the Doel 4 nuclear reactor in Belgium, 0r cyber attacks, the numbers of which are now too numerous to list here (McAfee, Estimate the Global Cost of Cybercrime 2014: 350 bn € – 500 bn €), what is needed, is a holistic approach to infrastructure security.

CIPRE’s unique format with its theme of convergence provides the platform to promote that holistic approach.

The event started the afternoon before the conference with a roundtable discussion hosted by the Institution of Engineering and Technology with leading experts speakers from different disciplines.

The conference started with everyone together for the opening keynote speakers Mr Ivo Opstelten, Minister of Security & Justice, Minister for Security & Justice, Netherlands and Mr. Fernando Sánchez, Director General, National Centre for Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP), Spain.

Then after a plenary session which discussed bridging the gap between Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) and Critical Information Infrastructure Protection (CIIP), the conference split into two dedicated CIP and CIIP tracks. After a day and a half of high quality speakers and debate the two tracks then converged once again for a final plenary session

During the conference, delegates and speakers from both tracks were able to network, discuss and exchange ideas in an atmosphere of friendly fraternity.

Mr Meda Udroiu on behalf of the Romanian delegation said: “We have all appreciated the quality of papers, the discourses of the participants who kept our attention with most interesting topics during the two days of conference. The debates in plenum, in panels as well as at the round table organized by IET – all have given us the opportunity to better understand the CIP and CIIP field. Networking coffee and networking reception have also meant for us an opportunity to exchange contacts and ideas.”

The next event in the series, Critical Infrastructure and Resilience, Asia, will take place in Bangkok in June 24-25 and Critical Infrastructure Protection and Resilience, Europe will return to The Hague 22-23 March 2016.