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‘Threat fades, security stays,’ in Belgium

Belgian soldiers stand guard outside Brussels’ Central railway station | Philippe Huguen/AFP via Getty Images

Also on Europe s front pages: France boosts its attractiveness and UK hosts another royal wedding.

By 1

1/23/18, 8:51 AM CET


Die Welt and S ddeutsche Zeitung focused on German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier s take on the coalition talks between the Social Democrats and Angela Merkel s conservatives . Europe, he said, is waiting for a German government that can bring peace and order back to crisis regions in this world, Die Welt reported2 . Frankfurter Allgemeine led with the joint message of Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, in which the two leaders announced their intention to work together more closely.

'Threat Fades, Security Stays,' In Belgium

'Threat Fades, Security Stays,' In Belgium

'Threat Fades, Security Stays,' In Belgium


Le Figaro reported on Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet being forced by trade unions to tackle overpopulation and radical Islamic conversion in prisons . Lib ration and Le Monde looked at Macron s decision to welcome foreign investors at Versailles to show off the country s boost in foreign investments over the last five years. According to Lib ration3, the event said as much about the attractiveness of the French economy as it did about the head of state s talent for setting a scene.

'Threat Fades, Security Stays,' In Belgium

'Threat Fades, Security Stays,' In Belgium

'Threat Fades, Security Stays,' In Belgium


De Tijd reported that foreign companies are creating a record number of jobs in Flanders, and De Standaard s front page looked at the controversial issue of funding local health centers4 . On the terror threat level in Belgium being lowered5 to unlikely, Le Soir s headline read: The threat fades, security stays, referring to government plans to keep soldiers on patrol in Brussels streets.

'Threat Fades, Security Stays,' In Belgium

'Threat Fades, Security Stays,' In Belgium

'Threat Fades, Security Stays,' In Belgium


The British press had another royal engagement to occupy front pages this morning, as Princess Eugenie announced that she will marry her long-term boyfriend Jack Brooksbank at Windsor Castle in the fall . Comparisons to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who will marry there in May, were common, with the Daily Metro s headline reading: Anything Meghan can do

In political news, the Guardian reported on the head of Britain s National Security Centre warning that it s only a matter of time until Britain suffers a major cyberattack . The Times reported that Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is urging the prime minister to greenlight a 5 billion annual cash injection into the National Health Service.

'Threat Fades, Security Stays,' In Belgium

'Threat Fades, Security Stays,' In Belgium

'Threat Fades, Security Stays,' In Belgium

Related stories on these topics:


  1. ^ (
  2. ^ Die Welt reported (
  3. ^ According to Lib ration (
  4. ^ local health centers (
  5. ^ lowered (

Cyber-attack on UK a matter of ‘when, not if’, says security chief

Exclusive: Ciaran Martin says Britain fortunate so far to avoid major, crippling attack

Ciaran Martin: Some attacks will get through . What you need to do is cauterise the damage . Photograph: Ulrich Baumgarten/U .

Baumgarten via Getty Images

The head of the UK s National Cyber Security Centre1 has warned that a major cyber-attack on the UK is a matter of when, not if , raising the prospect of devastating disruption to British elections and critical infrastructure. In remarks underlining newly released figures showing the number of cyber-attacks on the UK in the last 15 months, Ciaran Martin said the UK had been fortunate to avoid a so-called category one (C1) attack, broadly defined as an attack that might cripple infrastructure such as energy supplies and the financial services sector. The US, France and other parts of Europe have already faced such attacks.

Interference in elections would also constitute a C1 attack, as would a deliberately provocative move by a hostile state. During an hour-long interview with the Guardian, Martin said he anticipated such an attack in the next two years . I think it is a matter of when, not if and we will be fortunate to come to the end of the decade without having to trigger a category one attack, he said. He admitted total protection was impossible . Some attacks will get through .

What you need to do at that point is cauterise the damage, he said. Martin was speaking last week before a speech on Monday by the chief of defence staff, Sir Nick Carter, in which he highlighted the growing threat posed from cyber-attacks2, in particular from Russia, both on the battlefield and on civilian services. The NCSC, which is the front window for the government surveillance agency GCHQ, has been gradually building defences and is due to publish shortly a 60-plus page dossier outlining what has worked and what has not since it opened for operations in October 2016.

The most serious cyber-attack on the UK so far was the WannaCry3 ransomware attack in May last year that disrupted hospitals4 . In spite of its impact, the attack was classified as only C2 rather than C1, partly because there was no risk to life.

Figures for cyber-attacks since the NCSC opened through to December last year underline the pressure building on the UK from hackers . The NCSC recorded 34 C2 attacks, with WannaCry the most disruptive of these, and 762 slightly less serious C3 ones.

Most comparable western countries have experienced what we would consider a category one attack so we have been fortunate in avoiding that to date, said Martin, who is chief executive officer at the NCSC and former director general for cyber-security at GCHQ. Among serious breaches elsewhere are the hacking of the US Democratic party in the run-up to the 2016 White House election and an attack on a French television station in 2015, both blamed on Russia. The NCSC, as part of its preparations against similar attacks, has been advising key departments and companies on vulnerabilities while intelligence agencies monitor potential hackers .

There is also an emergency response team on constant standby. Martin said one of the biggest lessons from 2017 was to fear reckless as much as controlled attacks . He considered WannaCry, which was blamed on North Korea, as an example of an attack in which the perpetrator loses control.

What we have seen over the past year or so is a shift in North Korean attack motivation from what you might call statecraft disrupting infrastructure through to trying to get money through attacks on banks but also the deployment of ransomware, albeit in a way that didn t pan out in the way the attackers wanted to.

As well as North Korea, intrusions have been blamed on Russia, China and Iran . Some of these, Martin said, were espionage-based, scouting out vulnerabilities in infrastructure for potential future disruption . Although the UK signed a treaty with China in 2015 not to engage in cyber-attacks for commercial gain, espionage was left out of the treaty.

What we have seen from Russia thus far against the UK is a series of intrusions for espionage and possible pre-positioning into key sectors but in a more controlled form of attack from others, he said.

The UK has publicly acknowledged its growing cyber-offensive capabilities . Martin, while saying it was a matter not for him but GCHQ and the Ministry of Defence, said: Offensive cyber will be an increasing part of the UK s security toolkit. But he cautioned against assuming a cyber-attack from another state would trigger a retaliatory cyber-attack, saying there were a range of responses from diplomatic pressure through to sanctions and indictments. The Trump administration has raised the prospect of using nuclear weapons5 in response to a major cyber-attack.

Martin said he had not seen any successful attempt to interfere in the UK democratic process . The political parties had originally been suspicious about taking advice from an organisation linked to the intelligence agencies when the NCSC first opened.

When Theresa May called the UK general election in April, much of that reticence disappeared, Martin said, possibly because of the experience in the US and France.

The main parties in the House of Commons did ask for and did receive guidance on the sort of threats they were likely to face and we worked with each of them, Martin said. Cyber-attacks appear to have made electronic voting less likely in the near future . With the current state of high alert around elections, I think it make sense that there are not any current plans to move to electronic voting, Martin said.

Electoral security is one of the areas in which the the NCSC is working closely with European Union counterparts. In spite of reports of concerns over security cooperation post-Brexit, 6Martin insisted: There is significant momentum in Europe to get the European cybersecurity across the whole continent on a stronger footing and that is great.

Among challenges facing Martin, he identified encouraging more girls to consider engineering and computing as a career .

Of the NCSC s 700-strong workforce, only 32% are female, though half of the roughly 20 senior management posts are held by women.


  1. ^ National Cyber Security Centre (
  2. ^ he highlighted the growing threat posed from cyber-attacks (
  3. ^ WannaCry (
  4. ^ disrupted hospitals (
  5. ^ using nuclear weapons (
  6. ^ In spite of reports of concerns over security cooperation post-Brexit, (

Germany leads cloud security adoption

Germany Leads Cloud Security Adoption

The findings revealed regional discrepancies in adopting cloud security, with Germany the front-runner. According to the study, firms in Germany are 61% likely to secure confidential or sensitive information in the cloud, well ahead of the UK at only 35%. The findings showed there is a gap in awareness, with the UK at risk from falling behind new global privacy and data protection regulations despite the prevalence of cloud usage.

CCS Insight Vice President of Enterprise Research Nicholas McQuire told IBC365: The main challenge is that often firms suffer from cloud sprawl , meaning they have their data residing in many different applications and cloud services.

Having visibility and a consistency in security and governance across a wide range of different cloud services, which themselves have different approaches to security is very challenging for businesses. The study highlighted that encryption and security are two key areas of concern with 81% of companies surveyed in agreement that security authentication methods to access data and assets in the cloud is essential and or very important. However, the level of security applied to meet regulations is a concern; according to the study only 40% of all data stored in the cloud is access secured.

McQuire explained: Failing to protect your company s and customers data can cause serious financial and reputational damage, as the fall out of the Equifax breach of last year1 has revealed. It is critical to protect assets stored in the cloud, McQuire said.

Germany Leads Cloud Security Adoption

Some 85% of businesses now run at least some of their applications in the cloud and an increasing number of firms are now cloud-only, meaning they run all of their company apps in the cloud. Cloud computing applications and platform solutions are considered critical to organisations operations with 87% of respondents agreeing the cloud will increase in importance over the next two years.

The main barriers to adopting a compliant cloud security strategy is a misunderstanding of how much cloud usage is occurring across the employee base as well as the organisations IT function . This is particularly prevalent across firms that have been slower to embrace the cloud. McQuire said: This decentralised and fragmented usage, as well as a lack of acknowledgement of this activity by IT departments, creates risk to the organisation.

It is predicted that within two years an average of 51% of all IT and data processing requirements will be in the cloud, an overall increase of today s 39% of cloud operations.

GDPR compliance

With the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDRP) compliance effective 25 May this year, it will directly implicate cloud-based operations for UK companies who target consumers outside and inside of the EU. According to the study, 60% of respondents believe they are not in a position to comply with GDRP. GDRP will directly affect cloud security if the correct security and encryption protocols are not employed by businesses.

McQuire said: Firms will have to have better governance of data overall including data sitting with multiple cloud providers.

The cloud providers themselves are investing heavily to ensure their services are compliant for customers but not all cloud services will have the same GDPR standards.

95% of businesses globally have adopted cloud services the lack of security precautions vary regionally and 40% of organisations admitted to not having encrypted or key management security solutions for data stored in the cloud. However the study concluded that 57% of organisations believe using the cloud increases compliance risk and 49% believe customer data is at risk of being stored in the cloud. Gemalto Chief Technology Officer of Data Protection, Jason Hart said: While it s good to see some countries like Germany taking the issue of cloud security seriously, there is a worrying attitude emerging elsewhere.

This could be because it is assumed that data protection in the cloud is difficult to maintain, however, Hart stated: The opposite is true.

The benefit of the cloud is its convenience, scalability and cost control in offering options to businesses that they would not be able to access or afford on their own, particularly when it comes to security . However, while securing data is easier, there should never be an assumption that cloud adoption means information is automatically secure. The study surveyed more than 3,200 IT and IT security practitioners worldwide to gain a better understanding of the key trends in data governance and security practices for cloud-based services.


  1. ^ Equifax breach of last year (