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The Belgians, cyber security low achievers

08 October 2018

Belgium comes only in 27th place in the world cyber security ranking. This poor performance is everyone’s business because just a few simple actions are needed to ensure online protection. The European Cyber Security Month wants to raise awareness about good practice.

In the cyber security area, much remains to be done to ensure that everyone protects themselves and… other people. Because in our connected world, just one weak link can disrupt the entire chain of users. That is why the European Cyber Security Agency (ENISA) is overseeing across the whole of Europe the European Cyber Security Month, with the aim of encouraging the public to take charge of their digital health.

Belgians do not protect themselves

In Belgium, the situation is alarming. At only 27th place in the world cyber security ranking, our country is doing less well than our neighbours such as France, Germany and the Netherlands. That is why the Belgian Cyber Security Centre (CCB) and the Cyber Security Coalition have got together to organise in Belgium the European Cyber Security Month campaign.
This year, the emphasis is being placed by these two organisations on data backup good practice. According to a survey, we still have a long way to go in this regard. Thus,
  • 22% of Belgians have never backed up their files;
  • among those who make backups, 29% do so irregularly;
  • 14% make backups on the same device, which seems rather pointless;
  • a quarter of respondents never (5%) or seldom (19%) make updates.
In other words, the Belgians do not protect themselves personally from attacks on their devices (PCs, smartphones) and, therefore risk losing all their data (photos, videos, music and other files) or having them hijacked by cybercriminals. Even more seriously, by doing so, they also threaten everyone’s cyber security.

Make updates

Let us not forget: in May 2017, the world was struck by an attack of the WannaCry ransomware which spread at an unprecedented speed. More than 300,000 devices were infected in 150 countries. It was by exploiting a vulnerability detected in IT systems that the ransomware was able to attain such virulence and such speed of propagation. According to Miguel De Bruycker, Director of the CCB: “To remedy a vulnerability detected in an IT system, all that is needed is to update the software. The impact of attacks of the ransomware type can be limited provided organisations and citizens quickly update their systems.”

The Brussels Region is acting

Cyber security relies on everyone, citizens, businesses and public authorities, taking the right steps. That is why, in the Brussels Region, Brussels, Prevention & Security (BPS) and the Informatics Centre for the Brussels Region (CIRB) have recently combined their skills to offer a Regional Cyber Security Plan. In the Plan’s introduction, BPS and the CIRB ask the question: “We all learn to look both ways before crossing the road. … Why, in most cases, are we unable to do the same when we move around in cyberspace?”
Allez les belges, boostez votre santé digitale!
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