Opening up Europe’s Cyber Future

Europe will face a complex cocktail of cyber challenges in the coming five years, from safeguarding our critical infrastructure to protecting itself from election interference and disinformation whilst safeguarding citizen data privacy rights. A new set of leaders is preparing to take office in the European Commission’s headquarters in Brussels to take on these challenges. McAfee, at the cutting edge of cyber defence and mitigation, stands ready to help them embed the principles of open information exchange and interoperability that form the basis of a robust cybersecurity policy.

The principles of openness and interoperability have long been to key to the growth of the digital economy. But in the field of cybersecurity, these principles take on an even greater importance. Openness and interoperability are a precondition for vibrant competition and rapid innovation, and competition authorities should remain vigilant to ensure it remains in place even as the digital ecosystem begins to gravitate around the giants that best harness the network effects digital technologies can enable.

But openness and interoperability are not just about innovation. They have become cornerstones for keeping citizens safe as they go about their lives. This is because no single actor has all the information needed to prevent, mitigate or remedy a cyber incident. McAfee has a proud history of precisely such partnerships, sharing emerging threat information in real-time with authorities, and helping them keep the critical infrastructure that we all rely on up and running even as they become prime targets for cyberattacks. Hospitals, transport networks and energy grids are the lifeblood of our society, and we need to keep them safe. Hence, we think it’s right that this Commission focus on their needs and develop new rules to safeguard these vital assets.

When it comes to privacy, Europe has made enormous leaps to improve the trust of citizens in digital services, through more robust privacy rules and cybersecurity regulations and we hope that EU lawmakers continue to keep the safety of their constituents as a top priority. At McAfee, we believe you cannot have privacy without security, and that companies must proactively consider privacy and security on the drawing board and throughout the development process for products and services going to market.

But Cybersecurity is also about preparing for the future and in some cases, the best cyber-defences take a long time to develop, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the election interference and disinformation practices that sought to bring the recent EU elections, and our democratic foundations, to their knees.

The May 2019 elections may still be fresh in our memory, but Europe should not lose a second in starting to build its resilience for the next ones. At McAfee, we believe tackling disinformation requires robust cyber hygiene by all. But the best way to address it is using cyber intelligence and tradecraft to understand the adversary, so citizens can better understand the scale of the problem and our politicians can make the most informed decisions on how best to combat it.

McAfee has observed the growing prominence of Cybersecurity on the political agenda. This is a welcome and necessary development to ensure Europe is not taken off-guard by a cyber incident. Of course, Europe’s policymakers in the commission, parliament and council will pay attention to cyber threats when a crisis hits, but as John F Kennedy put it, they would also do well to repair the roof when the sun is shining. Whatever the cyber weather, McAfee will be a trusted partner to make Europe more cyber secure.

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