In Italy banks want more cybersecurity, politics don’t

Hacker’s Dictionary. The same day in which politicians mess around with the Foundation for cybersecurity wanted by the italian prime minister Conte, the president of the Italian banks, Patuelli, warns: “Beware of the cyber pandemic”. Banks invest in technology, but that’s not enough, the public must do its part

By Arturo Di Corinto

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The President of the Italian Banking Association (ABI), Antonio Patuelli, said that we must prepare for the unpredictable, such as the eventuality of a “computer pandemic” involving the Internet. He’s right to sell.

This declaration comes on the same day that the government decides to remove from the budget the act to establish a Cybsersecurity Foundation coordinated by the President of the Council of Ministers, in charge for overseeing the Secret Services trough the Security Intelligence Department. This idea was already present in the “Gentiloni decree” of 2017 which at the time saw the opposition of the Cinquestelle with the excuse it was “too private oriented” and which this time has been wrecked by the balancing act of the majority, with Italia Viva and the Democratic Party on the barricades because they disagree on the government management of the Foundation, but with the official motivation of the need for a broad parliamentary debate before any choice.

However, the Foundation’s project is necessary for the country. The Foundation should have worked to create an osmotic system involving research (public and private), institutions, businesses and government, in the direction of developing national skills and technologies in the field of cybersecurity. An urgency that everyone understands by working and studying on a computer. The scuffle, which ended up in the newspapers, would be motivated by the fact that the Foundation would assign new functions to the Security Intelligence Department of the Prime Minister, despite the operational prerogatives of intelligence agencies such as Aise [External Intelligence and Security Agency] and Aisi [Internal Intelligence and Security Agency] while the parliamentary majority has not yet found the right place to appoint the new nominees of the security sector.

One could say that it is another missed opportunity, given that only by developing its own national technologies Italy could aspire to technological sovereignty in cyberspace. Doing so through public-private partnerships in the wake of US and Israel is a good idea. The Italian industry needs to become more competitive in all production sectors and therefore needs to invest in cybersecurity.

In this regard, ABI president Antonio Patuelli said that the banks are committed, with “very large”, “direct and indirect” investments, to technological security. He probably refers to the news of the half billion of investments given by his association in July.

For the Crif, an entity dealing with consumer credit management, Italy would in fact be in 6th place after the USA, Russia, Germany, France, United Kingdom, among the countries most affected by the personal data theft. Many with financial value, i.e. credit card numbers complete with ‘CVV’ security codes and expiration date, in 91.4% of cases, while in 11.3% of the cases accompanied by the name and surname of the holder.

Also according to the Cyber ​​Crif Observatory, in addition, the first six months of 2020 recorded an increase of + 26.6% in users who received a warning of a cyber attack against their personal data compared to what happened last year in Italy.

The age group most affected is that between 31 and 40 years, equal to 35.7%, more than that from 51 to 60 years (30.2%). These are individuals or company emails, passwords, usernames, telephone numbers, which offenders can use to commit scams, via web and telephone.

About 73% of the accounts stolen in the first half of 2020 would come from entertainment sites, online games and video streaming, and then those of portals dedicated to financial services, both home banking and related to cryptocurrency exchange platforms and other payment services, accounting fort the 18.7% of the total amount.

The article was published for the italian newspaper Il Manifesto [11.19.2020]

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