“The war in Ukraine demonstrated the importance for a state to prepare for war in cyberspace”

What is the situation of cyber defense in France?

Nicolas Malbec

“Whether you are an individual, a company or an institution, you are faced with one unprecedented increase in its digital surface. This movement is very positive as it allows you to multiply the possibilities of acting for your professional life, for your recreational activities, for your social interactions. It allows huge productivity gains for companies that can offer improved or new services. Finally, him it facilitates the life of the citizen in his relations with the State. However, it is also the attack surface of information systems that is increasing and cybercriminals find opportunities there to defraud, redeem, blackmail people. Companies and institutions are facing the same phenomenon and can be robbed valuable data as the trade secretsof the personal data of users, customers, etc. Industrial structures can also be targeted and destroyed.

To measure the extent of the phenomenon in France, one can refer to the panorama of IT threat 2021 from ANSSI published on 9 March 2022. The agency notes a 37% increase in intrusions in one year. During the health crisis we were all shocked to see that the attackers did not hesitate to attack hospitals with the help of ransomware paralyzing vital activities. More, the war in Ukraine demonstrates the importance for a state to prepare for war in cyberspace, Microsoft’s report on this subject is particularly instructive. France has taken this aspect of modern conflicts into account and relies on Cyber ​​Defense Command conduct its operations in cyberspace “.

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Why is there a shortage of cyber defender?

“The stakes in protecting our individual freedoms, prosperity and security are immense in cyberspace. Therefore, awareness of the importance of protect yourself from cyber attackswhich unfortunately has often been done in a painful way, encourages companies and institutions to increasingly resort to experts in the field IT security. The government announces in its French cybersecurity plan of February 18, 2021 the need to do so increase from 37,000 to 75,000 IT jobs by 2025. This is a real challenge for schools, which will have to increase their training offer while maintaining a high quality requirement for this sector of advanced skills! In the military world, it is a question of moving from 2,500 to 4,770 cybercfighters during the same period”.

What are the qualities required to practice this profession and what are the expected skills?

“Above all, you have to show curiosityHaving a very strong desire to understand the why and the how. Often students who approach cyber defense are the ones who want to deepen their courses. It is very important to find the defects in a system and to fill them, to have an excellent understanding of the techniques used. It is also necessary, and increasingly, to know work in a team and in a crisis situation and prove a irreproachable ethics. On this aspect the name of the profession ethical hacker finds particular confirmation: it is a question of putting oneself in the shoes of the cybercriminal but with a view to protecting a system by identifying its vulnerabilities. You also need to be able to explain complex technical situations in simple words to operational staff and decision makers. We can clearly see that the transversal skills they are as important as the technique.

In addition to purely computer skills, there are also professions that contribute to cyber defense: legal expert, geopolitical analyst, digital marketing expert, psychologist, buyer of information technology, communicators, etc.

How will cyber defenders be trained in Hexagone? What courses do students take?

“In addition to a very solid technical basis in cryptography, systems, networks, devsecopwe provide our students with proven methods for cyber risk analysis, for conducting organizational and technical checks. We insist on crisis management with realistic exercises. Finally, for student volunteers, we participate in CTFs (Capture the flag : team games with cyber challenges) e insect size (search for vulnerabilities in information systems). “

What sets you apart from your competitors?

“Since cyber security is above all a matter of sovereignty, the school hexagon rely as much as possible digital sovereignty. Our partners include innovative and solid French companies such as Storm Shield, HarfangLab or Olvid. We insist on economic warfare between companies and states and replace thetechnical training in its geopolitical context. We also have a network of stakeholders who are nationally recognized experts. Finally, ours classes on a human scale (18 students) allow for thoughtful teaching that can be tailored to everyone’s background. We also accept retraining students. “

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