Cyber security can attract foreign investment - Cardona

Economy minister Chris Cardona says cyber security threats could scare off foreign investors, at the launch of the consultation on the green paper on national cyber security

Economy Minister Chris Cardona
Economy Minister Chris Cardona

Speaking at the launch of the national cyber security strategy green paper, economy minister Chris Cardona said that better cyber security could further bolster the country's economy and capability.

"Threats to the security are not to be ignored," he said, adding that leaks could sometimes lead to the ruin of businesses especially if they are smaller companies.

He added that given that 97% of companies in Malta are SMEs, the need of this strategy is highlighted to safeguard these companies.

Cardona added that he anticipated that the paper would have very positive results on the country as a whole.

He highlighted the government’s belief in having a comprehensive strategic and concerted approach so as to ensure security within cyber space and engender trust in the use of digital services, bearing in mind the increased proliferation in the use of ICT on a national level, the increasing economic importance of the technology as well as the envisaged use of emerging technologies such as cloud computing, Big Data and internet of Things. 

In a presentation, one of the writers of the green paper, Mark Bartolo said that the green paper was the first phase of the strategy, and that it would ultimately lead to a public consultation.

"The green paper looks at strategies in other European countries including the Netherlands among others," he said adding that the subsequent framework was the result of research.

He added that the consultation would start in the coming months and that it would include an online consultation on starting later today and closing early next year.

"Once the public consultation ends, there will be sectorial consultations with a number of stakeholders including financial services, gaming and banking among others. "

He further added that the strategy aimed to be launched by the second half of next year.

Bartolo added that the paper is not just about technology but that cyber security effects various sectors that use it, including aspects like data protection and social security among others.

He added that the paper also aimed to raise awareness about the importance of the sector and that the paper proposed 22 measures for discussion.

One of the goals is to establish coordination structures to protect national information infrastructures and to establish a national cyber risk assessment plan," he said.

He further explained that the paper aimed to identify gaps and strengthen capability to investigate and combat cyber crime.

Mita chairman Tony Sultana said that the digital strategy launched in 2014 had already hinted at the cyber security strategy.

Sultana said that the strategy had been the result of joint efforts from MITA, the armed forces of Malta, Malta police force and the Malta communications authority among others.

"We cannot provide solutions in IT and technological infrastructures without making sure the tools are safe and secure," he said.

In a presentation, Sultana explained that there were various threats to internet users including financial gain and information among others.

He added that hacks have now developed to be more specific and that the issue has also made it to the local scene.

"The Cyber crime unit received over 630 reports to investigate on 2015," he said, adding that it might be a result of more awareness.

He added that companies realised that there was something wrong in their system some 200 days after the breach was made.