European Telcos join forces to combat cyber crime

ETIS – The Global Association for Telecommunications has joined forces with Proximus, KPN, Swisscom and A1 Telekom Austria, in an initiative to professionalise the exchange of cyber threat intelligence among European telecoms providers. With the support of Dutch innovation body TNO, these telcos established a technical platform to automate the exchange of cyber threat intelligence in real time. This project will enhance the efficiency of the community as well as the quality of the actual threat intelligence shared. The pilot project was recently concluded and laid the foundation for a more elaborate operational setup, potentially involving 20+ European telcos.

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 these dynamics, 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 relevant, timely and actionable threat intelligence.

In early 2013, ETIS established the CERT-SOC Telco Network, a community of cyber security specialists from its member telcos across Europe. A key activity of this group is the exchange of threat intelligence and sharing of best practices. This new platform has enriched their efforts with the ability to exchange standardised, automated and real time threat intelligence. This greatly enhances the speed at which threat intelligence can be shared. Moreover, it facilitates better alignment with the operational security processes of individual organisations, thus enabling a more effective course of action upon reception of threat intelligence events.

‘What makes this project unique is that it is purpose set-up by the telcos, for the telcos and the ETIS Community provides the vital trust required to run such a platform. Our Members value trusted partnerships, collaboration and proactive intelligence sharing far more than the latest off-the-shelf security products.’ Fred Werner, ETIS Communications & Programme Director

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. ‘This project allows us to actively and securely exchange cyber threat intelligence, in order to faster detect, prevent and mitigate cyber security incidents. I am confident that this platform will help us to harness the power of our Members’ collective security knowledge to help our industry stay abreast of the latest cyber security threats on the horizon.’

The pilot participants concluded that the new setup for their threat intelligence exchange is a major step forward as it showed tangible evidence that participating telcos were able to increase their cyber resilience based on the intelligence received from their peers. Work is underway to expand the new environment with more telco participants such as TDC, Telenor and Deutsche Telekom set to join.