Anders Bohlin likes to compare the dangers of cybercrime to a city
that builds a lot of roads — but forgets to add traffic lights.
is what has happened in cybersecurity. We forgot to build the traffic
lights, and now we have all these malicious attacks going on,” says
Bohlin, a digital innovation specialist at the European Investment Bank
who helps firms invest in the fight against cybercrime.
past few years, cyberattacks have threatened thousands of companies and
billions of people’s private data around the globe. The WannaCry attack
shut down computers in hospitals and businesses worldwide. Hackers
stole data from billions of users at Uber and Yahoo. Russia was accused
of using cybercrime to disrupt elections in the US, Britain, France and
Germany. These are the drivers that need to be stopped with more
So why worry so much about how to stop cybercrime? Well, besides the threats to our personal data, cyberattacks cause billions of dollars in losses to the global economy. The European Commission says there were more than 4,000 cybercrime attacks a day
in Europe in 2017 and that 80% of European companies experienced a
cybersecurity incident. Ransomware attacks, in which users’ computers
are infiltrated and blocked, tripled worldwide from 2015 to 2016.
Cybersecurity becomes a priority
In response to the spread of cybercrime, the EIB made investments in this sector a priority.
have been actively looking to help the cybersecurity sector,” says
Jussi Hatonen, head of the Bank unit that invests in young, innovative
companies. “If you look at any industry, everything is moving to digital
— health care, transportation, telecommunications, manufacturing. This
explodes the amount of data, and that data has to be kept secure.”
This increasing digitalisation of people’s lives creates many opportunities for public institutions and businesses, but it also opens up new avenues for crime.
the high-speed broadband connections in place today, people are
downloading many things and many sensitive transactions are done over
the Internet,” Bohlin says, “but there are often several new malicious
attacks going on and you don’t even know about it.”
Stepping up the fight
The Bank completed several recent cybercrime deals. It signed two loans in December with the Swedish companies Nexus Group and Clavister.
The two companies are developing more advanced cybersecurity software
to stop the rise in hacking and creating better identification systems
to protect people’s data. Both deals are part of the European Fund for
Strategic Investments, an initiative to increase growth in the EU by
working with younger and more innovative companies.