Sberbank presents the prospects of defending the digital world at SPIEF 2019

Jun 06, 2019
  • Sberbank held a panel session at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on the issues of protecting users in cyberspace.
  • The main topic of the discussion was the different approaches to cybersecurity in the context of global digitalisation.

6 June 2019, Saint Petersburg — Sberbank has held a session titled ‘Digital Borders: How to Build Protection in a Transparent World?’ at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. The participants of the discussion talked about the prospects of creating a safe and progressive digital world. Key topics included developing interaction between state bodies and private firms, the risks of limiting the internet on a national level, and the different approaches to effectively protecting users in the context of global digitalisation.

The discussion was moderated by Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board of Sberbank Stanislav Kuznetsov. Its speakers were CEO of Kaspersky Lab Eugene Kaspersky, President of MTS Alexey Kornya, Vice President of Cyber Security & Privacy of Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. Mika Lauhde, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Movencorp Inc. Brett King, and ex-Prime Minister of Finland and Senior Adviser at East Office of Finnish Industries Esko Aho.

Stanislav Kuznetsov (Sberbank) suggested that the discussion should begin with the question “What will the safe and progressive digital world of 2022 look like?” Four different visions, or paths of development, were proposed. Vision one: the digital world has neither standards nor rules and complete freedom reigns. Two: the internet is partially regulated under international standards. Three: cyberspace will have developed under international and national regulations and possess clear digital boundaries. Four: the digital world will always be full of threats, and due to this, the current internet will be replaced by brand new global networks and as a result there will be completely different approaches to defending cyberspace.

During the discussion of these scenarios, the session’s participants agreed that the path of complete freedom is not compatible with safe development of the digital world. Eugene Kaspersky (Kaspersky Lab) commented that “by doing nothing, we are digging ourselves into a hole. On the other hand, tough state regulation is also a road to nowhere.” In his opinion, in the future the concept of cybersecurity will be replaced by the concept of ‘computer immunity’, where all attempts to carry out unauthorised actions with systems will be automatically blocked by the systems themselves.

Esko Aho (East Office) commented that nevertheless, it is impossible to ensure a secure environment in the context of global digitalisation without active participation of the state. “We need a dialogue between the government and companies. Artificial intelligence and blockchain will help find solutions to protect against cybercrime. This isn’t the first time that humanity has come up against these sorts of challenges. In the past new technologies have brought danger, but humanity has coped.”

Brett King (Movencorp Inc) drew attention to the fact that modern computing technology indeed does not have immunity, and therefore it is vulnerable. “Immunity will only be provided by new, unused solutions that are based on completely new approaches. Above all this will be quantum computing. This is the best solution.”

Mika Lauhde (Huawei Technologies Co) talked about Huawei’s experience of doing business in China (the so-called Great Firewall of China has been operating for more than 15 years). “Yes, we have to work with digital borders, but they will not last. The future is open. If you take a tough approach to regulating how things operate online, then you are sure to damage companies in one way or another, and competition will be negatively impacted. To avoid this, there must be partnership between private businesses and the state. Cybersecurity is a matter of life and death for companies. But there must be a balance in the relationship between the business community and the state in this area, an evolutionary approach should be taken.”

According to Stanislav Kuznetsov, although every serious company has its own standards for internal cybersecurity, “the time has come to join forces and create overall requirements.”

Alexey Kornya (MTS) said that it is essential to have back-up capabilities and alternative solutions. “If the Russia of the future only has a single 5G network which is used by all communications operators and it goes down, then we will be in a very difficult situation. That’s why adjustments should be made — a single infrastructure for all operators will be fraught with risks. However, the rules of the game should be the same for all players.”

Brett King, author of several best-selling books about banking, noted that banks are the number one target of cybercriminals, but in the future the very concepts of banks and money will change. “AI and blockchain — that’s the bank of the future, bank 5.0. Today criminals use social engineering schemes based on information that they get about users from social networks. Bank 5.0 will have security systems that use biometrics and authentication, the whole paradigm of interacting with clients will shift.”

At the end of the conversation, Esko Aho also added that “Digital technologies have allowed the world to solve many problems, and have made the world a safer and faster place. But they have also brought danger. The future will pave the way for more opportunities, and make it possible to do both good and bad things. 5G will not only make the world faster and more transparent, it will also completely change infrastructure and the principles for interaction between the state, companies and users.”

Closing the session, Stanislav Kuznetsov thanked everyone and reminded them that the topics they had discussed and other ones related to global cyberresilience and international cooperation in this area will be covered at the 2nd International Cybersecurity Conference (ICC) in Moscow on 20–21 June 2019.

The ICC is a unique international cross-industry platform for global dialogue between representatives of government agencies, international business leaders and recognised industry experts on the most pertinent and acute issues of cybersecurity in the context of globalisation and digitalisation. Sberbank’s first ICC was held in Moscow on 5–6 July 2018 in cooperation with the Russia Association of Banks and Data Economy NFO. The congress united more than 2,500 participants and about 700 organisations from more than 50 countries.