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Cybersecurity

How to protect Europe from a growing threat

Major cyberattacks have been in the headlines in the past months. No longer merely an abstract risk, the severity of attacks underlines their potential impact on Europe’s economy and society; indeed, damage from cyberattacks in Europe alone is estimated at 340 billion Euros annually. To counteract this threat, Airbus has developed agile solutions to protect companies, governments and critical infrastructure.

Over 170,000 security applications from Airbus are used worldwide

Cyberattacks have the power to paralyse organisations. To name one recent example: In 2015, an attack by Russian hackers completely disabled the French television station TV5Monde. The station now works with Airbus to better fend off potential threats. The Cyber Defence Centre from Airbus monitors the station’s digital infrastructure, sending out early warnings about suspicious activity, such as phishing emails. The system provides encrypted communications to ensure safe data transfer, while employees receive specialised training at Airbus workshops, where they rehearse emergency scenarios. Over 170,000 security applications from Airbus are used worldwide, which are overseen by the department for CyberSecurity and its staff of 600 employees.

Airbus invests in R&D

Recent attacks are increasingly sophisticated. In order to stay ahead of the curve, the CyberSecurity team invests over 20 per cent of its annual budget in research and development. In addition, Airbus  works closely with its network of experts and governmental agencies. A combination of networks, investment in R&D and real-world training ensures that Airbus provides state-of-the-art solutions to provide a safe digital environment.

Policymakers should take the lead in bolstering cybersecurity

The European Union recognises the significance of cybersecurity for its economy and society. Trust and confidence are especially important for consumers in light of efforts to create a Digital Single Market. On-going policy initiatives for cybersecurity include:

  1. EU Cybersecurity Strategy: The strategy provides the overall strategic framework for EU initiatives on cybersecurity and cybercrime and will be reviewed in autumn 2017 in order to include new risks.
  2. The Network and Information Security directive: The NIS directive was adopted in December 2015 to facilitate cooperation between Member States to ensure a better level of cybersecurity in the EU. It strengthens the preparedness of Member States thanks to new requirements mandating that large operators report major incidents.
  3. Alliance with ECSO: The partnership between the Commission and the European Cyber Security Organisation (ECSO) was signed in 2016 to improve Europe's industrial policy on cybersecurity. The alliance will play an increasingly important role to translate research objectives into rapid market uptake. 

Airbus welcomes these programmes and encourages the European Union to continue its progress towards building a Digital Single Market with harmonised standards across the EU. Furthermore, European leaders should encourage a more cohesive EU cybersecurity market to protect its citizens. A more unified market brings benefits for European companies and consumers alike – but first requires an airtight cybersecurity framework.           .

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