Delphi Economic Forum, one of the most prestigious Greek annual events took place between Thursday, February 28 and Sunday, March 3, 2019 aiming to identify the main global trends, assess their implications and review the resulting challenges and policy options confronting decision-makers of the wider Eastern Mediterranean Region.

On the subject of cybersecurity, a fruitful debate took place focusing on new methods of protecting citizens, businesses and member states from cyber-attacks. The debate was coordinated by the journalist Vangelis Mandravelis and amongst the participants were Dr. Udo Helmbrecht, Head of the European Information Security Agency, Mr. John Baras, Professor at the University of Meriland, Mr. Konstantinos Lambropoulos, associate of the International Organization of Civil Security of Geneva and Panagiotis Papagiannakopoulos, Director of Counselling E.Y.

Dr. Helmbrecht noted in principle, that social networking – specifically referred in the Facebook 2018 affair – shows how bad data is being used by various inspectors. He also referred to the impact of social networks and fake news on democratic processes, giving the example of the election of Trump and Macron. “With new technologies, there are always risks, the matter is what you do”, he commented. He referred to the Privacy Protection Regulation and noted that it was the first time we have a regulation imposing financial penalties and that this is something the CEO of the companies took into account and put it in their proceedings. He also said that there may be quality standards to be respected both in services and in products.

Mr. Baras referred to the attendants on how many of them are using the same password for more than one account and pointed out that cybersecurity is now getting away from just the use of password and using new techniques, such as the face photo of the user. He also stressed that cybersecurity technologies must be user-friendly, as users themselves are the biggest “security hole”, because it is not easy to use the security systems that are provided to them. As he said, “cannot put 150 passwords”. He also referred to the fact that through the infotainment of cars (e.g. televisions) hackers invade the systems and steal the lock signal, proposing as a solution to every chip, there is a local “policeman”. It also noted, with regard to the new safety systems, that not only the fingerprint but also the footprint device should be certified.

Mr. Lambropoulos pointed out that cybersecurity is a priority for governments and businesses and noted that in a sense cybersecurity is a matter of national survival for states. It has defined cyberspace as the computer network but also the ones related to them, that is to say, the interface of digital technologies and fiber optics. “Cyberspace is the new field for combat action”, he argued and added that a new battlefield defined by information gives new possibilities. Lambropoulos also noted that these countries have been implementing new strategies in recent years to address threats to national security.

Mr. Papagiannakopoulos presented a survey of the E.Y., conducted in 2018-2019 among 1400 executives dealing with cybersecurity. He stressed that security is no longer a password and that the issue is how to have a structured program to deal with threats. He said that most of the respondents (65%) said that they would increase their cybersecurity investment, that 55% had no knowledge of how they protect a company against any threat to a cybersecurity strategy, that only 8% say that cybersecurity fully meets their needs and that 51% spends more on cyberanalytics. “There is no company without any incidents. The attacks will be done and we have to be prepared”, he said and added that companies often handle the attacks in the wrong way, resulting in even more consequences.

The Delphi Economic Forum is one of the most important conferences in S.E. Europe and annually brings together distinguished politicians, academics and business people to exchange ideas, formulate proposals and develop positions related to the challenges of tomorrow, setting as a goal the formulation of a sustainable and socially just development for Greece and the wider region of S.E. Europe and the S.E. Mediterranean.


George Apostolopoulos, PhD
Open Technology Services S.A.