Organised in November 2018 by LU-CIX, the Luxembourg commercial internet exchange, Luxembourg Internet Days brought together ICT specialists and experts to share knowledge and discuss the latest trends. The event included keynote speeches and interactive debates as well as workshops and an exhibition area.
Stronger defence against internet attacks
LU-CIX will play a key role in a new initiative aiming to strengthen Luxembourg’s network infrastructure, namely a national centre for filtering DDoS attacks whose creation was announced by the Prime Minister at the opening of the event. In Distributed Denial of Service – or DDoS – attacks, incoming internet traffic originating from many different sources floods the victim’s network resources and disrupts internet-based services, temporarily or indefinitely. Prime Minister Bettel said that as a first step, LU-CIX will strengthen its network capacities to manage national traffic. The filtering centre will be set up during the second phase.
This enhanced defence system is part of Luxembourg’s ambition to be at the forefront of the digital economy. This field is growing at breath-taking speed and will, according to Federico Milani, Deputy Head of Unit of the Data Policies and Innovation Unit at the European Commission, double by 2020. Data is central for the development of many innovative “smart” services that can be attractive for clients and benefit society as a whole. The European Commission is implementing a regulation that will allow the free flow of non-personal data within the EU. The aim is notably to facilitate the reuse of public sector data by private companies and make it easier for users to change cloud providers.
The importance of the free flow of non-personal data was emphasised by Kaili Terras, the Estonian Ambassador to the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Estonia is called the world’s most digital society, and Ms Terras drew many parallels between her homeland and Luxembourg. Both countries are small, highly innovative and high-tech oriented. Estonia entrusted Luxembourg as the host of its digital embassy, set up in order to ensure service functionality and data continuity even in the case of a massive national cyberattack.
Estonia has considerably invested into digitalising public services to make them cheaper as well as more accessible and reliable for citizens. “E-governance is serving us well and has made a difference in our daily lives,” stated Ms Terras.
No zero risk
Several speakers discussed the need to enhance the security of software and IT systems and design them in such a way that they can survive the unexpected. David Foy, Head of Sector Development – Digital Economy at Luxinnovation, spoke of source code obfuscation, i.e. constantly and randomly changing a piece of code so that even if hackers break the code used at a certain time, their access will again be denied just moments later. This system of defence can be an excellent way of protecting the Internet of Things, for instance. However, the speakers agreed that the level of risk can never be zero and developers must always be vigilant. To use the words of Thomas Blood, EMEA Enterprise Strategist at AWS: “Dance as if no one is watching – but encrypt as if they are”.
Photo Credit @ LU-CIX