ETIS Members join forces to combat Cyber Threats
20 April 2015
Posted by: Fred Werner
ETIS – The IT Association for Telecommunications has joined forces with Proximus, KPN, A1 Telekom Austria and Swisscom in an initiative to share Cyber Threat Intelligence. With the help and coordination of Dutch research organization TNO, these Telcos will establish and trial a new platform that will greatly enhance the exchange of cyber threat intelligence among European telecoms providers. After a kick-off workshop in January the pilot project is now well under way and the final results are expected in October 2015.
The cyber threat landscape is rapidly evolving with increasingly severe vulnerabilities emerging at a tremendous pace. What’s more, present day cyber attacks are more sophisticated than ever and the attackers are very well organised. Due to the dynamics of present day cyber threats, Telcos cannot passively rely on traditional measures to stay safe. To avoid unnecessary damage, they must continually stay on top of the latest threats, vulnerabilities, attack methods and attacker campaigns. To this end, organisations are in need of appropriate and timely threat intelligence.
In early 2013, ETIS established a community of CERT and SOC specialists from its member Telcos. The ETIS CERT-SOC Telco Network presently comprises of over 20 Telecom operators from across Europe. A key activity of this group is the exchange of threat intelligence. This is currently facilitated through conference calls, on-line forum discussions, surveys, wikis and face to face meetings. The goal of this pilot is to further strengthen and professionalise the ETIS CERT Community. The project will optimise the exchange of threat intelligence and introduce structured automation on the information feeds to achieve speed and efficiency. The small scale pilot serves to acquire experience and lay the foundation for a more elaborate setup that will serve all 20+ ETIS members in the future.
‘During the past years ETIS has seen Cyber Security rise on the Telco agenda and consequently become one of the most active areas for ETIS with three out of ten Working Groups dedicated to Telco security related issues. What makes this project unique is that it is purpose built by the Telcos, for the Telcos and the ETIS Community provides the vital trust required to run such a project. This initiative demonstrates our Members’ vested interests in Security and this is but one of the many ways that they are collaborating in ETIS to fight cyber threats.’ Fred Werner, ETIS Communications & Programme Director
“Through this initiative, European telcos should ultimately become more resilient against cyber attacks. Thus, whilst the primary aim is to optimise the exchange of cyber threat intelligence, we will also explicitly ascertain effects in the operational security processes of individual telcos.” Richard Kerkdijk, senior security consultant at TNO and coordinator of the pilot project.
One of the key success factors in the project will also be co-operation and information sharing in this field among the Telcos. Andy De Petter, Cyber Security Intelligence & Incident Response, Proximus and Chairman of the ETIS Information Security Working Group had the following to say about the project. ‘While over the last couple of years the operators have massively increased their capability on cyber security incident response, we automatically also increased our knowledge on cyber threats. Although we have been working closely together within the ETIS Community already, we found that it was the time to raise this collaboration to a next level. This pilot project will allow us to actively and securely exchange cyber threat intelligence, in order to use each other’s intelligence and apply it to faster detect, prevent and mitigate cyber security incidents. I am very positive about this, and am sure that with the participants we will be able to define and standardize how this sensitive information can and should be shared among a wider community.’ ETIS is confident that this project will help to harness the power and know-how of our Members’ collective security knowledge to help our industry stay abreast of the latest cyber security threats on the horizon.