Future threats, new defences

Three questions for Nicolas Arpagian, VP Strategy & Public Affairs at Orange Cyberdefense, and Jean-François Audenard, Group VP Product and Service sSecurity and Security Intelligence.

Is the cybersecurity field being affected by the development of big data and more recently artificial intelligence?

Nicolas Arpagian: As time goes by, the volumes of data are increasing and their markets are growing, which means that there are more attacks. Today, it is possible to find very low-cost attack tools that can have major repercussions for the organizations targeted. But artificial intelligence also offers opportunities to reinforce cyberdefences.
Jean-François Audenard: Yes, the progress made with mass data processing and artificial intelligence through deep learning can be used to analyze a large volume of information, detect “abnormal” behavior, determine the threat and then sound the alarm. Over the longer term, we could imagine a conflict between systems that attack and defend automatically, based on what they have learnt from previous situations; the Cyber Grand Challenge organized in 2016 by the DARPA is one example of what tomorrow’s security could look like.

More data, more attack tools, more defensive resources, there seems to be no end to this…

NA: Operators are aware of this: they are adopting a “shield” approach with increasingly powerful protection, able to cope with increasingly high volumes of attacks, from denial of service (dns) to data extraction. Continuous investment is needed to ensure sufficient capacity to cope with attacks: it is vital to detect and react to attacks increasingly quickly, while ensuring that networks and platforms can operate.

JFA: The number of these attack and defence “weapons” is growing, particularly as the open source movement is developing: there are more and more security solutions, as well as attacks, available with open source. A major shift has been seen over the past decade, highlighting the key role of data: the trend is no longer to work with proprietary software as was the case 10 years ago. Today, software is freely accessible: it is the way that they are used and above all, the data involved that are making all the difference, and will continue to do so in the future.

Will data therefore be the “black gold” for the coming decades? What about their confidentiality? We are seeing various attempts at regulation through initiatives like the Privacy Shield or the European Data Regulation Project…

NA: All digital information can be valuable, because it is easy to find some potential buyers online, in a globalized marketplace for cybercrime. This is what all organizations must keep in mind. Judicial cooperation on a transnational level is difficult because these data flows do not have any borders: hackers are always keeping one step ahead.

JFA: Data sovereignty is a key issue for the future: who does data really belong to when it is transmitted, processed or stored on American, Chinese or Israeli systems or services? The future of the digital landscape is in the hands of a few nations…It is interesting to see that companies like Facebook and Google are creating their own routers and servers today to ensure full sovereignty for their data. Free or open source technologies represent a response to take back control – they will therefore become a key focus for businesses over the coming years.