Russia that remotely cut off power in Ukraine and also ensured that Trump becomes president of America. Two completely different conflicts, but both are cyber attacks.
Everyone has their own cyber security team
Most countries protect themselves from these attacks by putting in place a grand plan from their own Ministry of Public Affairs that spells out what they consider to be relevant to cybersecurity across the country. “From there, each ministry can think about what it should do.” The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that we do not have anything like this in the Netherlands at all. There is no central body coordinating this. “Right now we have ten divisions, each celebrating their own cybersecurity party,” Prins explains.
According to Prins, the National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism (NCTV) should play a coordinating role. “But it turns out that coordination is not enough, you need more central direction from the top and someone who will ensure that the plan is carried out,” he says. He does not like a Minister of Digital Affairs, because in his eyes this is too broad. Such a minister will also look at digitization, which is an important topic as well. But for security, I think it would be good to have a government commissioner,” Prins explains. This government commissioner is the central person who arranges everything and is accountable to the Cabinet.
Best ranked in other countries
It is better organized in other countries, for example England is spending billions on a new cyber center where the defense organization cooperates with the intelligence services. According to Prinz, this has a very deterrent effect: “Don’t touch us, because if you touch us, we will respond.” This is necessary. “These ransomware attacks are attacks that will strike risks that may affect national security,” Prins says. According to him, there is a need for other solutions than giving the police an additional fifty million, in the hope that this will stop.
Cybersecurity is being put on the agenda from the room, but according to Prinz, ministers seem to find it a complex subject, and therefore do little about it. “We even had a strategy, but at some point it was scrapped. Because it didn’t work in the end. And it didn’t come back. Sometimes I talk to ministers in private and everyone realizes we’re not doing enough with it, but they obviously don’t know,” Prins says. How to deal with it.”
‘People even died’
Ultimately, not properly protecting our digital highway can cause serious problems. As an example, Prins gives a number of hospitals in Ireland that suffered from weather ransom last summer. As a result, they could not work and had to send a lot of people home. There are even hospitals where people died because the computers were not working.”
At the moment, we do not have a solution for ransomware attacks yet. Until we come up with an answer other than not paying the ransom, it will continue to grow. Because these perpetrators are in Russia and there is no chance of arresting them. When you see how easy it is to do that and how much money they can make with it, we really have to come up with a different approach,” explains Prins.