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Research Report

Information security: A new challenge for the EU

Alain Esterle
Hanno Ranck
Burkard Schmitt
Burkard Schmitt
Copyright Date: Mar. 1, 2005
Pages: 83
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 7-8)

    Since the invention of the wheel, technical innovations have driven the history of mankind. Some of them have been particularly important and have changed profoundly the way societies work and individuals live. The Internet is a perfect example of such an innovation. Based on common protocols to send electronic messages and identify machines, it has opened up a new area of communication and information, enabling us to transfer vast amounts of digital data for a great variety of applications within fractions of a second around the globe. Moving into the new domain of cyberspace, the Internet has overcome the barriers...

  2. (pp. 9-30)
    Hanno Ranck and Burkard Schmitt

    This chapter is neither a typical research paper nor a handbook for information technology (IT) experts. It is an attempt to explain, in simple terms, a technology and the various ways in which it can be used and misused.

    Such an assessment of threats and risks is admittedly unconventional. In the specific case of the Internet, however, we are convinced that this is the most appropriate approach, because the behaviour of every single user is crucial for successful risk management. Of course, technical protection measures do matter and the expertise of IT specialists is indispensable. However, the danger of cyberattacks...

  3. (pp. 31-56)
    Alain Esterle

    In Europe, the purpose of security policies on information (the contents) and information systems (the container) is to protect the information (integrity), to guarantee its terms of access (availability, confidentiality, identification of correspondents) and its evidential value (authentication, non-reputability). These properties are essential in order to guarantee the independent execution of state policies, as well as the reliable use of IT in important socioeconomic areas (online exchanges for administrations, trade, education, health, etc.).

    Three types of actors are affected by these applications and by Information security – currently dubbed ‘Infosec’ – that underpins them:

    the citizen, particularly concerned with personal...

  4. (pp. 57-60)

    Thanks to its wide range of applications and enormous commercial success, the Internet has become the spinal column of modern societies, and its importance will certainly continue to increase. However, Internet protocols have been defined in order to improve the rapidity and interoperability of electronic exchanges, not their security. The spread of a system that is pathologically insecure to all sectors of society has thus created new security risks that are impossible to eliminate completely.

    Although its development has been – and will continue to be – driven mainly by private businesses, public authorities also have, for a variety of...