Security and cybercrime: ANSSI visits EPITA

As part of the “Parole d’Experts” (listen to the experts) day on 21 October, EPITA and Epitech welcomed several key figures from the French agency for the security of information systems (Agence nationale de la sécurité des systèmes d’information – ANSSI), including managing director Patrick Pailloux. Mr Pailloux presented the aims of ANSSI and taught students about good practices in terms of information security.

Immediate action is needed

Patrick Pailloux started by telling the packed room how important IT is for our country to function properly: institutions, businesses, services… all of France’s administrative and economic drivers are based on information systems. Furthermore, almost one third of projects aimed at reindustrializing the country are based on IT and digital technology. IT security is therefore extremely important.

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“Every day, ANSSI’s 350 engineers strive to guarantee the security of IT, which is a crucial issue”, said Patrick Pailloux. Actions which take place in the material world almost systematically have an equivalent in the digital world: spying (industrial, economic and even institutional), destabilization of a country during military operations, sabotage of digital infrastructure… One of ANSSI’s roles is therefore to prevent and protect from these kinds of attacks, which are more and more significant. To do so, it helps businesses secure their systems, establishes good practices in terms of cybersecurity and, where necessary, carries out offensive operations.

“These missions help strengthen the position of the State, said Patrick Pailloux. Electricity networks, water systems, chemical industries and other types of industries have to be defended on the ground, but also digitally. This kind of infrastructure is vital. That’s why we establish IT hygiene rules, carry out audits, are warned in the event of an intrusion and have the means needed to respond to these attacks.”

Recruitment is needed

To carry out its operations in the best way possible, ANSSI hopes to have a team of 500 engineers in total to work on these topics by the end of 2015. “This is the second reason why I am here today, said ANSSI’s director general. We need experts in all fields of IT, not necessarily people who took the “Systems, Networks and Security” (Système Réseau et Sécurité – SRS) or the “Epitech Security Lab” curricula. We have needs in every field of IT engineering, from wireless networks to software development, IT system operation and cryptography.”

At the event, ANSSI set up a recruitment booth for future graduates and students looking for an internship. A question/answer session followed, then Patrick Pailloux gave the floor to some of EPITA’s former students now working at ANSSI, who talked about their experience in cybersecurity.