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Information Society and Cybersecurity

Information Society and Cybersecurity

By Ahmed Khaouja

How to ensure cybersecurity of information systems when the earth is meshed with multiple telecommunication networks increasingly open? This can be defined as a process, which encompasses all the means deployed upstream and downstream, to fight against intentional (such as intrusions) or unintentional (flaws for example) crimes, that can affect security of information systems.

Cybersecurity is justified, more than ever, in developed countries which use large-scale information systems; but also in developing countries, such as Morocco, where the Internet penetration rate is increasing strongly and where companies and organizations are increasingly opting for the networking of their information systems within the framework of digital transformation.

Moreover, cybersecurity is becoming imperative for the large-scale adoption of online services, as the Internet is increasingly vulnerable to attacks.

According to the European Commission, one in eight European companies has already been the subject of a computer attack, while two in five European users in Europe have already experienced a security problem. Still according to this Commission, at the end of 2020, the annual cost of cybercrime for the global economy is estimated at 5.500 billion euros, which was doubled compared to 2015. According to the Club ‘des juristes en France’, cyberattacks, would cost the global economy the same order of magnitude in 2021. Cybercrime has been on the rise for years and shows no signs of slowing down. The arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 has only fueled the situation. Those who expected relief from the growing terror of cybercriminals in 2021 are going to be disappointed, as the number of attacks only increases day by day. While electronic openness improves efficiency, it makes unprotected businesses and institutions more vulnerable to malicious code. In July 2021, in the United States, hackers attacked Kaseya company, which brings together more than 1,000 companies; hence, the need to improve cybersecurity and make decision-makers aware of this central issue.

What are the preventive solutions? Everyone is concerned with cybersecurity, and there are no out-of-the-box solutions to protect all telecom systems and networks. Thus, while awaiting particularly reliable planetary solutions, it is necessary to take dissuasive and preventive measures at the national level and to decide on priorities in the fight against potential risks. Preventive solutions concern, for example, research on malware or the adoption, by legislative or regulatory means, of texts relating to cybersecurity. Thus, in November 2011, the first measures were adopted during a convention on cyber attacks in Budapest. This is the first international treaty on criminal offenses committed via the Internet. Its main objective is to pursue a common criminal policy aimed at protecting society against cyber attacks. On March 22, 2021, the European Council adopted the cybersecurity strategy, stressing that it is essential for building a digital Europe. It should be remembered that already in 2004, the European Union created ENISA (The European Union Agency for Cybersecurity), a cybersecurity agency, which advocates a common European approach to the security of networks and information systems. This Agency was also called upon to raise awareness and make intelligible issues related to computer security and to fight against all forms of network attacks.In 2013, France, in addition to other actions, had imposed, via a law, on operators of vital importance, the strengthening of the security of the critical information systems they operate.

In Morocco, a law had already been passed in November 2003, penalizing infringements of computer systems. Recently, in July 2020, this system was completed by law n° 05-20 on cybersecurity, with the entry into force, in august of this year, the decree n° 2-21-406, related to the enforcement of the aforementionned law.

What are end-of-pipe solutions? At this level, the solutions generally concern the installation of filtering and security techniques, such as firewalls, management of communication of security incidents, risk management, data confidentiality, distribution of user charters, development of awareness-raising actions, in particular for young people, easy prey for the various pirates, or the recruitment of “halal hackers”, as discussed in Camille Wong’s article.In the long term, the major challenge for software manufacturers is to create an identification and authentication model that is reliable enough to generate a better level of trust among users. This will eventually involve extending the encryption model in force in electronic signature platforms to all cybernetic applications and making the necessary efforts to protect sensitive data through the double key.The renowned American firm Gartner forecasts a growth of more than 12% of the global cybersecurity market this year and to some 150 billion US dollars, after an increase of 6.4% in 2020. At this rate, the global security market cybersecurity is growing, twice as fast as the entire information technology sector, and that’s good!

(*)This is an update of the Article already published by Ahmed Khaouja in the Revue de ARCEP, electronic communication regulator in France.

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