Unprecedented Civil Alliance for Cybersecurity in Italy

Rome, Italy – The leaders of the National Cybersecurity Agency (ACN), Roberto Baldoni and Nunzia Ciardi, participated in the proceedings of CyberSec2023 in Rome, discussing the pressing need for a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity.

During the event organized by Cybersecurity Italia and led by journalist Luigi Garofalo, Roberto Baldoni, the Director-General of the National Cybersecurity Agency, emphasized the absence of a user manual for tackling cyber threats. The event, held at the National Gallery of Exhibitions in Rome, shed light on the current state of the country’s cyber resilience. Baldoni elaborated on the multifaceted roles and responsibilities of the agency in countering hybrid threats. These threats necessitate awareness, training, and appropriate regulations, demanding collaborative efforts between the public and private sectors to equip the nation with both human and technological resources.

The conference commenced with messages from security delegate Alfredo Mantovano and Defense Minister Guido Crosetto. It was further enriched by the insights of two Vice Presidents of the Chamber of Deputies, Anna Ascani and Giorgio Mulè. This gathering represented a shared idea at the highest institutional levels – a cyber security approach focused on the responsiveness and readiness of constitutional bodies, public administration, defense, and interior, all while embracing civil society.

This approach aligns with the annual report of the Secret Services, presented on February 28, regarding a cyber risk that is not always visible but can manifest with both demonstrative and subtle attacks, as reiterated by Director Roberto Baldoni.

This complex landscape necessitates confronting ever-evolving challenges and “reducing the technological and geopolitical risk caused by dependence on foreign suppliers,” he noted.

The ACN is addressing this risk by initiating 100 interventions aimed at enhancing the security posture of local public administrations. Additionally, the Cyber Innovation Network is supporting start-ups, SMEs, and large enterprises in developing national technologies for the market. This effort operates under a method rooted in rules, collaboration, market engagement, and in-house application development. A significant emphasis is placed on training professionals capable of overseeing a cyber-secure digital transformation.

Roberto Baldoni emphasized the need for cooperation and competition as essential pillars. “We work diligently to provide Italy with a safe route to navigate through a technologically complex sea,” he said. He acknowledged the agency’s role in a tumultuous technological sea, where a single wrong move can result in immeasurable damage.

This sentiment was echoed by Nunzia Ciardi, the Deputy Director-General of the Agency. She stressed that often, risks emanate from human factors rather than just exploiting technological vulnerabilities. In her role as Deputy Director-General and former head of the Postal Police and Communications, Ciardi highlighted the importance of equal efforts in countering both cybercrime and disinformation. These distinct risks often intertwine, making them difficult to distinguish. “Cybercrime has increased by 138% in a year, and ransomware has grown by 400% since 2019,” she stated. Ciardi employed the metaphor of placing sandbags in front of windows during a physical conflict, emphasizing the need for a digital alliance to address these shadowy and well-organized threats.

The depth and breadth of the challenges necessitate a genuine civil alliance for cybersecurity. This alliance is aimed at achieving the resilience required to maintain Italy’s security, democracy, and competitiveness on the global stage.