Secure 5G networks: Commission endorses EU toolbox and sets out next steps
The Commission is today endorsing the joint toolbox of mitigating measures agreed by EU Member States to address security risks related to the rollout of 5G, the fifth-generation of mobile networks. This follows the European Council’s call for a concerted approach to the security of 5G and the ensuing Commission Recommendation of March 2019. Member States have since identified risks and vulnerabilities at national level and published a joint EU risk assessment. Through the toolbox, the Member States are committing to move forward in a joint manner based on an objective assessment of identified risks and proportionate mitigating measures. With its Communication adopted today, the Commission is launching relevant actions within its competence and is calling for key measures to be put in place by 30 April 2020.
Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age, said: “We can do great things with 5G. The technology supports personalised medicines, precision agriculture and energy grids that can integrate all kinds of renewable energy. This will make a positive difference. But only if we can make our networks secure. Only then will the digital changes benefit all citizens.”
Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, said: “A genuine Security Union is one which protects Europe’s citizens, companies and critical infrastructure. 5G will be a ground-breaking technology but it cannot come at the expense of the security of our internal market. The toolbox is an important step in what must be a continuous effort in the EU’s collective work to better protect our critical infrastructures.”
Thierry Breton, Commissioner for the Internal Market, said: “Europe has everything it takes to lead the technology race. Be it developing or deploying 5G technology – our industry is already well off the starting blocks. Today we are equipping EU Member States, telecoms operators and users with the tools to build and protect a European infrastructure with the highest security standards so we all fully benefit from the potential that 5G has to offer.”
While market players are largely responsible for the secure rollout of 5G, and Member States are responsible for national security, 5G network security is an issue of strategic importance for the entire Single Market and the EU’s technological sovereignty. Closely coordinated implementation of the toolbox is indispensable to ensure EU businesses and citizens can make full use of all the benefits of the new technology in a secure way.
5G will play a key role in the future development of Europe’s digital economy and society. It will be a major enabler for future digital services in core areas of citizens’ lives and an important basis for the digital and green transformations. With worldwide 5G revenues estimated at €225 billion in 2025, 5G is a key asset for Europe to compete in the global market and its cybersecurity is crucial for ensuring the strategic autonomy of the Union. Billions of connected objects and systems are concerned, including in critical sectors such as energy, transport, banking, and health, as well as industrial control systems carrying sensitive information and supporting safety systems.
At the same time, due to a less centralised architecture, smart computing power at the edge, the need for more antennas, and increased dependency on software, 5G networks offer more potential entry points for attackers. Cyber security threats are on the rise and become increasingly sophisticated. As many critical services will depend on 5G, ensuring the security of networks is of highest strategic importance for the entire EU.
A new Eurobarometer survey, also published today, shows that awareness of cybercrime is rising, with 52% of respondents stating they are fairly well or very well informed about cybercrime, up from 46% in 2017.
EU toolbox conclusions
The Member States, acting through the NIS Cooperation Group, have adopted the toolbox. The toolbox addresses all risks identified in the EU coordinated assessment, including risks related to non-technical factors, such as the risk of interference from non-EU state or state-backed actors through the 5G supply chain. Based on last October’s EU risk assessment report, the toolbox includes strategic and technical measures and corresponding actions to reinforce their effectiveness. These are calibrated based on objective factors.
In the toolbox conclusions, Member States agreed to strengthen security requirements, to assess the risk profiles of suppliers, to apply relevant restrictions for suppliers considered to be high risk including necessary exclusions for key assets considered as critical and sensitive (such as the core network functions), and to have strategies in place to ensure the diversification of vendors.
While the decision on specific security measures remains the responsibility of Member States, the collective work on the toolbox demonstrates a strong determination to jointly respond to the security challenges of 5G networks. This is essential for a successful and credible EU approach to 5G security and to ensure the continued openness of the internal market provided risk-based EU security requirements are respected.
The Commission will support the implementation of an EU approach on 5G cybersecurity and will act, as requested by Member States, using, where appropriate, all the tools at its disposal to ensure the security of the 5G infrastructure and supply chain:
- Telecoms and cybersecurity rules;
- Coordination on standardisation as well as EU-wide certification;
- Foreign direct investment screening framework to protect the European 5G supply chain;
- Trade defence instruments;
- Competition rules;
- Public procurement, ensuring that due consideration is given to security aspects;
- EU funding programmes, ensuring that beneficiaries comply with relevant security requirements.
The Commission calls on Member States to take steps to implement the set of measures recommended in the toolbox conclusions by 30 April 2020 and to prepare a joint report on the implementation in each Member State by 30 June 2020. Together with the EU Cybersecurity Agency, the Commission will continue to provide its full support including by launching relevant actions in the areas under its competence. The NIS Cooperation Group will continue to work in order to support the implementation of the toolbox.
To support the deployment and take-up of 5G networks, the Commission has presented a 5G Action Plan in September 2016. Today, Europe is one of the most advanced regions in the world when it comes to the commercial launch of 5G services, with an investment of €1 billion, including €300 million in EU funding. By the end of this year, the first 5G services are expected to be available in 138 European cities.
On 26 March 2019, following a call from the European Council, the Commission adopted a Recommendation on Cybersecurity of 5G networks calling on Member States to complete national risk assessments, review their measures and work together on a coordinated risk assessment and a common toolbox of mitigating measures. Member State completed their national risk assessments and transmitted the results to the Commission and the EU Cybersecurity Agency. In October 2019, the NIS Cooperation Group published a coordinated EU report, identifying the main threats and threats actors, the most sensitive assets, the main vulnerabilities and a number of strategic risks. The report highlighted a number of security challenges linked to 5G networks, and defined factors to assess the risk profiles of individual suppliers. In November 2019, the EU Cybersecurity Agency published a dedicated 5G threat landscape mapping as further input to the toolbox.
The race to make hospitals cybersecure
As medical centres increasingly come under attack from hackers, Europe is bolstering protection.
By TOM CASSAUWERS
Amid the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2021, the Irish healthcare system’s computers were breached by hackers who gained access to patient files and posted hundreds of them online. As a result, the network had to be shut down.
The reverberations were widespread as appointments got cancelled, people’s most sensitive data was stolen and even procedures like CT scans came to a halt. The attack was one of the largest hacks of a healthcare provider in the world.
Mind the gap
‘At the moment, there is a major gap in the cybersecurity capacities of healthcare,’ said Christos Xenakis, a digital systems professor at the University of Piraeus in Greece. ‘Hospitals need to work properly and protect our data.’
From May 2021 to June 2022, the EU’s cybersecurity agency – ENISA – detected a total of 623 ransomware incidents in Member States similar to the one in Ireland. Healthcare was the fifth most targeted sector of those attacks.
That in turn has spawned more investment and technological development to secure the industry. Scientists, medical professionals and governments are increasingly taking action to prevent scenarios like the Irish one.
The answer lies not only in better software. Cybersecurity is more often than not about people and changing their behaviour.
That’s one of the conclusions reached by Sabina Magalini, a professor of surgery at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome, Italy.
She coordinated an EU-funded project called PANACEA to improve hospital cybersecurity. The initiative ran for 38 months through February 2022.
‘Human error is one of the main cybersecurity risks for hospitals,’ said Magalini. ‘The risk lies with people, which is logical. A hospital isn’t a nuclear power plant and can’t be closed off in the same way.’
Hospitals tend to be busy places. Staff need to perform medical duties and, at the same time, work on a variety of computer systems.
Research during PANACEA showed that, during a single day, nurses often had to log in to computer systems more than 80 times.
This is time-consuming and leads to shortcuts, including the same password being used by a group of people or passwords being written down on a piece of paper next to the computer.
In general, the study demonstrated that hospital staff followed cybersecurity precautions poorly and, in the process, left an opening that attackers could exploit.
‘We need to make interactions between healthcare professionals and computers better,’ said Magalini. ‘As a doctor or nurse, you’re treating the patient and using a computer at the same time. It’s hectic.’
PANACEA came up with ways to make it easier for hospital staff to follow cybersecurity precautions. One example is software ensuring a more secure login system.
‘The software allows for facial recognition of healthcare workers,’ said Magalini. ‘This would bypass the need for the problems we’re seeing today with passwords.’
The project also experimented with low-tech alternatives. Researchers put up stickers and posters in participating hospitals to nudge healthcare workers into following basic cybersecurity procedures.
Education also needs to play a role, including for doctors, according to Magalini.
‘Cybersecurity training should be included in their residency programmes,’ she said.
Another EU-funded project, CUREX, facilitated the sharing of health information among hospitals. Xenakis of the University of Piraeus coordinated the project, which ran for 40 months through March 2022.
‘Health data is the most sensitive data there is,’ he said. ‘Hackers pay more for health data than for credit card information.’
When sending patient information to another health facility, a hospital might not be aware of the extent of the recipient’s cybersecurity arrangements.
CUREX addressed that uncertainty.
The project developed a software that can help detect any vulnerabilities in the security of an outside organisation. The system makes it easier for medical facilities to share information in line with EU data-protection rules.
‘It’s all about risk assessment,’ said Xenakis. ‘And to do that, you need to know how secure the other organisation is.’
European researchers and cybersecurity organisations are investing in these types of answers.
As a follow-up to PANACEA and CUREX, the EU is co-funding cybersecurity procurement for hospitals, meeting 50% of the cost of new measures.
So, even while attacks on European hospitals continue on a regular basis, experts see reason for optimism about the future.
‘European cybersecurity providers are rapidly becoming more mature,’ said Xenakis. ‘In turn, hospitals are recognising the necessity to buy new tools and upgrade their security.’
Research in this article was funded by the EU. This article was originally published in Horizon, the EU Research and Innovation Magazine.
Centre for the 4IR Malaysia to Accelerate Green Transition, Digital Transformation
The Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Malaysia (C4IR Malaysia) was officially launched today by the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Anwar Ibrahim, and the President of the World Economic Forum, Børge Brende.
C4IR Malaysia will play a crucial role in driving the advancement of the digital economy in Malaysia, with a focus on supporting the country’s energy transition and digital transformation. The centre will serve as a public-private platform, bringing together leaders from government, business, civil society, academia and other sectors to advance new partnerships and initiatives that can unlock the value of technology for Malaysia’s economy and society. The centre is hosted by MyDIGITAL, a national initiative aimed at transforming Malaysia into a digitally driven, high-income nation and a regional leader.
This initiative marks a significant milestone in Malaysia’s journey to becoming a global leader in technology governance and innovation. C4IR Malaysia is the first centre in the Asia-Pacific region as part of the World Economic Forum’s global C4IR Network. With this launch, Malaysia has now joined a community of 18 centres, where new and innovative approaches to technology governance, adoption and scaling are being developed and implemented at the national, regional and international levels.
Anwar Ibrahim, Prime Minister of Malaysia, said: “Malaysia is honored to be part of the global network of Centres for the Fourth Industrial Revolution with the first Centre for 4IR in Southeast Asia. This is a testament to the critical value of Malaysia’s efforts to become an advanced, digitally-driven, high-income nation and a regional digital economy leader fostering innovation, entrepreneurship and collaborations between stakeholders. The Malaysia Centre for 4IR will further strengthen Malaysia’s human-centered policy towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution and contribute towards our target of entering the Top 20 in the Global Innovation Index. We are confident that a resilience-oriented approach will also improve the nation’s People’s Wellbeing Index score and enhance productivity to create inclusive, balanced, responsible and sustainable economic growth.”
Addressing the leaders at the launch, Børge Brende, President, World Economic Forum said: “Malaysia’s leadership in the region and commitment to driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution is commendable. Through the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Malaysia, we are excited to work together with the government, business and civil society leaders to unlock the value of technology for the benefit of all Malaysians. This partnership will not only drive transformation but also help build a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient future for Malaysia and the region.”
Following the official launch, C4IR Malaysia hosted two roundtable discussions to address its thematic priorities, inviting leaders from business, government and other sectors to share key priorities and opportunities for the energy transition and digital transformation. These insights will serve as the foundation for C4IR Malaysia’s core initiatives, informing its strategic planning and programme development.
Fabian Bigar, CEO of MyDIGITAL and Head of Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Malaysia said, “MyDIGITAL team is proud to be entrusted with the responsibility of making Centre for 4IR Malaysia a success in achieving its goals. The establishment of the Centre for 4IR Malaysia aligns with and further fortifies our initiatives to catalyse homegrown technology development by enhancing collaborative opportunities among stakeholders to unlock value in 4IR technologies, with a focus on supporting the country’s energy transition and digital transformation.”
From adoption to transformation to regional leadership, C4IR Malaysia is a critical establishment that will help drive the country’s transition to an advanced digital economy. By joining the global ecosystem of technology governance innovators and leaders, C4IR Malaysia is poised to contribute significantly to Malaysia’s economic and social development in the years to come.
The World Economic Forum’s global C4IR Network is a platform for multistakeholder collaboration, bringing together the public and private sectors to maximize technological benefits to society while minimizing the risks associated with 4IR technologies.
Graphic Design for Beginners: Tips and Tricks to Get You Started
Are you a beginner in the world of graphic design? Are you eager to learn the tips and tricks professionals use to create stunning visuals, logos, and websites? Look no further! This blog post is dedicated to helping beginners understand the fundamentals. We will provide helpful advice to improve skills in using such important features as https://create.vista.com/features/blur/ or to start creating works with special software tools. Whether you are a designer, a business owner, or just someone looking to dabble in graphic design, these recommendations will come in handy. So grab a cup of coffee, and let’s dive in!
Understand the Basic Principles
Before attempting any design project, it is crucial to grasp the basic principles that underlie successful designs. They include concepts such as:
Familiarizing yourself with these principles enables you to effectively create visually appealing compositions and convey your message. There is a wealth of resources online, from tutorials to full-fledged courses, that can help you master these basics.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Whether you are learning to ride a bike or to design visually stunning graphics, practice is the key to improvement. Dedicate time each day to work on your skills, explore new techniques, and experiment with tools and features. Start by replicating existing designs or working on personal projects to train your creative muscles. Eventually, you will develop your own unique style and build a strong foundation in design.
Keep It Simple
One of the biggest mistakes that beginners make is trying to do too much with their work. Remember that less is often better, and keep your creation simple and easy to understand. Avoid using too many colors or fonts, and focus on creating a clear information hierarchy.
Use High-Quality Images
The images you use in your designs can make or break the final product. Make sure to use high-quality ones that are relevant to your message. If you are unsure where to find good variants, there are plenty of stock photo websites that offer free or affordable choices.
Remember about Regular Breaks
Designing can be mentally taxing, so taking breaks and stepping away from your work from time to time is necessary. It can help you return to your design with fresh eyes and a renewed perspective.
Seek Inspiration and Learn from Others
Graphic design is an ever-evolving field, with new trends emerging constantly. Stay inspired and informed by following tailored blogs, joining online communities, and browsing social media platforms like Pinterest and Instagram.
Learning from other designers can also be incredibly helpful in your journey. Reach out and connect with fellow designers to exchange ideas and share resources. Study the work of others to understand their thought processes and techniques, but always remember to stay true to your own creative vision. You can even seek critiques and feedback from fellow designers to help develop your skills and style. Building connections in the design community can also lead to opportunities for collaboration or even potential job offers.
Build a Portfolio to Showcase Your Work
A strong portfolio demonstrating your best work is essential for securing freelance projects or positions in a design agency. Begin by curating a collection of your favorite personal projects, and over time, replace them with professional work as you gain experience. A well-rounded portfolio should illustrate your versatility in multiple styles, along with your proficiency in various software programs. Put your portfolio on a personal website or on popular design platforms like Dribbble and Behance.
Break the Rules
While it is necessary to understand design basics, do not be afraid to experiment and break the rules. Sometimes the most creative and innovative creations come from pushing the boundaries and trying something completely new.
Graphic design can be a rewarding and exciting career when you are equipped with the right tools and knowledge. With these beginner-friendly tips and tricks, you will be well on your way to establishing yourself as a talented designer. Remember to stay curious, practice frequently, and continuously seek inspiration from the world around you. As your skills grow, so will your passion for creating eye-catching designs that captivate audiences and leave a lasting impression. Happy designing!
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