Within the space of a few years, since the forced digital transition resulting from technological evolution, cybersecurity has become a priority at international level. The fact that in our industrialised societies a vast majority of information, management and decision-making necessarily goes through Internet and computers makes us particularly vulnerable to an intentional or non-intentional breakdown of IT systems and, what is more, of the network. The urgent need for action in this domain fully justifies strengthening the security of IT systems through a research resulting in very short-term applications. It is also essential to realise that, in such a technological war with increasingly frequent and rapid adaptations, it is vital to follow up simultaneously the defensive and offensive aspects, at risk of being very quickly overtaken and dependent of specialised firms, what would be in clear contradiction with the preservation of a national autonomy.
Research in cyberwarfare includes many fields of study that can be grouped in three categories corresponding to the three first strategic objectives of the Belgian Ministry of “Cyberstratégie pour la défense” (“Cyberstrategy for Defence”)1 document: protection (SO_I), training (SO_II) and reaction (SO_III).
Research in systems and networks protection (SO_I) will include the use of A.I. and machine learning techniques, the hardware and software encryption of communications and data, the development of redundant and resilient IT systems, as well as the analysis of blockchain-related technologies (principle used by cryptocurrencies). Recently, quantum information science arose in the field of cybersecurity with its unprecedented capabilities, both in information processing power and in communication reliability.
Research in training and education (SO_II) will continue the development of high-performance simulation environments for assessing new concepts and technical solutions as well as training forces, from the specialised technical level through to the highest decision level.
For the “reaction” aspect (SO_III), an example of the research done includes the development of intrusion detection systems exceeding the quality of commercial solutions in order to better detect attacks.
Ongoing projects concerning this focus area
1 ACST-COD-CYSTRAT-DCC-001 / DRC2, Cyberstratégie pour la défense, May 2019