VIP Interview with Marc German, Business Diplomat and Computer Crime Expert
Laurent Chrzanovski : Describe your career.
Marc German : I have started my international career 30 years ago in offsets. I have carried out numerous missions in states that did not have regulated relations with the West, such as the USSR. Being an advisor to French societies and early interested in what was then to be called Competitive Intelligence, I have initiated numerous industrial and commercial partnerships, within the opportunities that arose after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Recently, in 2008, in a prospective approach, I have set up a strategic focus group called “Reflextrat”, aimed at stimulating in particular the success and the development of innovative enterprises in emerging markets, while also contributing to the eradication of inappropriate practices within businesses and institutions.
Laurent Chrzanovski : How did you become interested in cyber security?
Marc German : Given the fact that today everything is computerized and everything is happening on
the Internet, aware of the new challenges linked to the security of the increasingly complex IT projects and being an auditor at the CNAM’s Criminology Department, I focused myself on the fight against crime cyber.
Laurent Chrzanovski : Which aspects of the cyber world are you preoccupied with today?
Marc German : The quality of the source code is the first level of IT security. Indeed, a code error that causes a malfunction of the application is called a bug, a visible error that can be corrected, but this process is costly; instead, a code error that does not cause malfunctions and that can not be seen is called a breach and represents the nightmare of businesses and administrations, because its consequences may be even more expensive …
But not only the technical part of cyber security requires a technical response, but behavioral issues which are also more complicated because, as usual, in terms of safety and security, human behavior is the weak link, so the eradication of inappropriate practices becomes imperative.
Laurent Chrzanovski : How do you evaluate the status of awareness within the businesses where you have been or are still active?
Marc German : Today, businesses and administrations understand that they need to get out of the state of addiction to major companies – Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP – who produce the tools they need to adapt to, which have a low performance and reliability and are very expensive. Nowadays, some disruptive technologies allow for the creation of efficient specific instruments that correspond to new economic models. Thus, the IT tools of enterprises can become, from cost-generating assets, a source of profit.
Laurent Chrzanovski : What about in the field in which you generally evolve?
Marc German :The lack of “behavioral hygiene” of end users persists in a dramatic way. Software can be used on a terminal and on a highly secured network, but if the user is charging here his or her personal phone or tablet, this degrades de facto the whole system, by creating an access point. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is an aggravating phenomenon.
Laurent Chrzanovski : What, in your opinion, are the odds of resistance of Industry 4.0?
Marc German :The ability of businesses and administrations to protect themselves from the rules dictated by major software and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) developers, created by service companies whose turnover is due in excess of 70% to their maintenance services. The former provide solutions that do nothing, because the specific business needs of enterprises are not fully covered and end-users need to adapt to inappropriate tools for their work. The latter, having an economic model based on “man-day” sales, are pleased with the inadequacy of the former, because their incomes come from inoperable software deliveries: the worse they work, the higher the maintenance revenues. The worst thing is that neither administrations nor companies are the owners of these poor, inadequate and expensive IT tools.
The main challenge of the Industry 4.0 resistance is the promotion of disruptive technologies that allow the production of specific tools that are fully adapted to occupations. These technologies exist and allow not
only to exit from the “man-day” sinister model, but also honorable services that in turn allow users to enjoy computer services in support of their job and not vice versa.
In terms of behavior, the emphasis should be placed on tailored training and end-users responsibility … Huge program!
Laurent Chrzanovski : In your opinion what should the digital defense culture be like in an enterprise and what is the form it should take?
Marc German : It is a transversal responsibility, under the aegis of the “investor / owner”, because it is a threat to the vital processes of the administration or the enterprise.
Laurent Chrzanovski : In your view, why, in terms of the great powers, have the transition to digital and new security stakes in Europe been ignored for so long?
Marc German : The Europeans do not have vision and strategic thinking and have difficulties in properly defining the problem they are facing; what happens in the case of terrorism is also true of cyber security. Semantic changes or reversing the meaning of words perverts the thinking.
The cybernetic sector is the transposition of informatics into the real world without being its replica. Cybercrime is not a new form of crime, it is the transposition of classical crime into the field of cybernetics, and criminals only adapt their way of action to a new instrument, a new vector and a new playing field.
Laurent Chrzanovski : Is it still possible to reinstate a vigilante spirit on a continent that has known peace since 1945 without being accused of “big brother” or bellicose behaviors?
Marc German : It is not about adopting an opportunistic policeman position in response to a fashion; resilience is a real strategic stake.
Laurent Chrzanovski : Why are we so insensitive to the good practices of our neighbors in the EU when they prove their efficiency, and why do we need to reinvent the wheel in each and every state? Is there a lack of knowledge? The ego policy?
Marc German : All cybernetic actors consider cyber security a new market with potential for economic growth and financial gains, as a new Eldorado …
Or, as I mentioned earlier, the worse the system works, the more the problems are being reinforced and these actors are getting stronger. In France more than elsewhere, the system is sick and closed … Senior IT officers move indifferently from the world of software publishers or services to positions of director of computer systems of large groups, it is the paradise of conflict of interests, unscrupulous co-option, and great sharing between friends … We are facing a real economic crime because administrations, businesses and, ultimately, taxpayers are paying the bill.
The fate of this system that deviates from its own duties can only be the implosion!