Digital resilience is lagging behind the increasing threat

Digital resilience is lagging behind the increasing threat

The digital resilience of individuals and organisations is lagging behind the increasing threat. Government, business and citizens take many steps to increase digital resilience, but this is not happening fast enough. This is apparent from the Cyber Security Assessment Netherlands 2017 (CSAN 2017), which demissionary State Secretary Dijkhoff sent to parliament in June and which is being published in English today.

Dijkhoff states: The sense of urgency to invest in cyber security is growing in Dutch society. Nevertheless, we must continue to invest in knowledge and expertise to stay at the top level. That's why we talk to businesses, education and representatives from critical infrastructure. We need to work together to keep the Netherlands digitally safe and secure. This cyber security assessment confirms that everybody’s cooperation is needed to keep the fast digitizing world safe and secure. Companies, for example, by reserving funds to keep their networks safe and Dutch citizens by purchasing digital secure items."

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    Transcript CSAN 2017 animation

    This animation contains a voice-over. This transcript marks the voice-over text as [voice-over]. [Animation] describes what can be seen in the animation.


    [Voice-over]    “The Cyber Security Assessment Netherlands provides insight into the most important developments in the field of cybersecurity.”
    [Animation]    The animation shows the words “Cyber Security Assessment Netherlands”. These words disappear, after which stylized versions of the cover page and an inside page are shown. The images disappear at both sides of the screen.

    [Voice-over]    “Professional criminals and countries pose the biggest threat for digital security in the Netherlands.”
    [Animation]    Two icons, which represent professional criminals and countries each, appear on screen. The professional criminals are shown as three individuals with three laptops. The countries are shown as two flags. Both icons disappear at the left side of the screen.

    [Voice-over]    “Professional criminals seek financial gain.”
    [Animation]    Two of the three individuals that represent professional criminals reappear on screen. Euro coins fall from the top of the screen towards the two criminals. This results in a stack of coins. Everything disappears from the screen.

    [Voice-over]    “Countries conduct digital espionage, sabotage and exert influence.”
    [Animation]    Three computer screens appear on screen. Each has an icon of an eye in it. This symbolizes espionage by countries. The eye-icons disappear from the three computer screens. In their stead, we can see a malfunction. This represents sabotage. The three computer screens disappear. Now we can see lots of fast changing numbers on screen. The camera zooms in. This represents the exertion of influence. Everything disappears from the screen.

    [Voice-over]    “Over 100 countries worldwide use digital means for espionage to obtain confidential information from governments and companies.”
    [Animation]    A spinning globe appears. It transforms into a stylized version of a webpage. Three magnifying glasses appear and move over the webpage. Everything disappears from the screen.

    [Voice-over]    “In the past year, democratic processes in several countries have been influenced by way of cyber attacks.”
    [Animation]    A line of people with voting cards in their hands appear. A voting pencil on the right side of the screen colors a voting option red. The line of people disappear from the left side of the screen. The voting pencil and voting option move to the left of the screen in their stead. At the right side of the screen a computer screen appears. Arrows appear. They move towards both images, but they bounce off the images. Everything disappears from the screen.

    [Voice-over]    “In the Netherlands, measures have been taken in the run up to the elections for the House of Representatives.”
    [Animation]    A stylized icon of a parliament appears. Arrows appear. They move towards the parliament, but they bounce off. Everything disappears from the screen.

    [Voice-over]    “More and more devices are connected to each other across the internet, like smart lighting, thermostats, security cameras and cars.”
    [Animation]    Two houses appear on screen. Icons that represent smart lightning, thermostats, cars, security cameras, lamp posts, and a computer user appear on screen. Everything is connected to each other with dotted lines. Everything disappears from the screen.

    [Voice-over]    “The development of the Internet of Things provides opportunities, but also causes risks. In the past year, the Internet of Things has been abused to conduct large cyber attacks.”
    [Animation]    A car that is driving on the road is shown. An exclamation mark appears next to the car. The car gets into a controlled slip and disappears. On screen, we see the same image as the previous scene, with the two houses and lightning, thermostats, cars, etcetera. Two exclamation marks appear on screen and the Internet of Things devices appear to be broken. Everything disappears from screen.

    [Voice-over]    “Furthermore, the Netherlands is heavily dependent on services from a limited number of foreign internet infrastructure providers. Disruptions can have a substantial impact on society.”
    [Animation]    An icon that represents a server appears on screen. Next, a lot of icons appear on screen. These icons represent cars, printers, tablets, computer screens, e-mail, energy, money transactions, laptops, money, lightning, and phones. The icons that represent “things” with a screen, such as tablets and laptops, show malfunctions. Everything disappears from screen.

    [Voice-over]    “Finally, the CSAN shows that the resilience of individuals and organisations is lagging behind the increasing threat.”
    [Animation]    The word CSAN appears on and disappears from screen. An icon that represents the Netherlands appears within a circle. Arrows that try to penetrate the circle appear, however these arrows bounce off. The camera zooms out and shows an increasing number of arrows. The result is the same. Everything disappears from screen.

    [Voice-over]    “Risks will continue to grow if no extra measures are taken.”
    [Animation]    An icon appears: a triangle with an exclamation mark within it. Multiple smaller icons appear around it: a power plant, a bus, a transmission tower, a train, and a factory. These smaller icons are connected to the larger icon with dotted lines. All icons turn red and disappear.

    [Voice-over]    “The CSAN is drawn up in close collaboration between the National Cyber Security Centre and both public and private partners and is an annual publication of the NCTV.”
    [Animation]    Once again the stylized cover of the CSAN appears on screen. This disappears at the left side of the screen. Multiple small icons appear on screen. These icons are individuals that represent public and private partners. Everything disappears from screen, after which the word NCTV appears on screen. Again, everything disappears.

    [Voice-over]    “Want to know more about the CSAN 2017? Go to”
    [Animation]    The NCTV logo appears on top. In the middle, the URL appears.


Cyber crime continues to be a major point of attention. Cyber attacks are attractive for cyber criminals due to the high impact on society through the use of relatively limited resources. Also, the threat of state actors remains prominent. Over a hundred countries worldwide use digital means for espionage and perform digital attacks to influence democratic processes.

The growth of the Internet of Things creates opportunities but also cybersecurity risks. Many devices contain vulnerabilities which are not repaired by security updates. In this way, these devices can be abused for example to perform DDoS attacks. Also the strong dependence on a limited number of foreign providers of infrastructure services entails risks. Although major suppliers have the resources to prepare themselves better against attacks, the impact of a disruption is significant because many services depend on a small number of providers.

According to Dijkhoff the findings from the CSAN show that in the coming years investment in the digital resilience of the Netherlands should be increased. "In recent years, more funding in the budget of the Ministry of Security and Justice has been assigned to strengthen Dutch cybersecurity. For example, public-private cooperation has been strengthened and the approach to cybercrime and detection of digital threats has been intensified. Given the worrying picture of 2017, these actions and investments remain highly needed. "