Cybersecurity and regions: the role of space, European Cyber week 2022 in Rennes, Brittany

Cybersecurity and regions: the role of space, European Cyber week 2022 in Rennes, Brittany

With increased digitalisation and technologies becoming more sophisticated, cyber-attacks have also amplified in the last few years creating new security issues.


In response to this threat, the Brittany region got engaged and now leads the EU “Cybersecurity Smart Regions” partnership (link). It aims at fostering cooperation for strong European cyber ecosystems with the objective to develop interregional cooperation; facilitate the development/synergies of EU cybersecurity value chain; foster the European business investment/environment and highlight the challenges on cybersecurity. Having said that, the European Union has launched several strategic initiatives and adopted an ambitious budget to develop the EU’s technological sovereignty in cybersecurity by accelerating the cooperation among “Smart Cyber Regions” and fostering the visibility of regional ecosystems.


Cybersecurity is a strategic sector for Brittany region given its industrial and military aspects, and its commitment to maintain a strong cybersecurity ecosystem including players, such as the industry and  SMEs, the cyber team of the French  Ministry of Defence,  and numerous research institutions.


Against the background that regions and organisations esp. SMEs located on their territory are challenged by cyberthreats, pooling resources and expertise is essential for their resilience. Thus, regions need to look for strong partnerships/synergies that will help them finding new innovative solutions.  In this respect, the EU action plan of synergies between defence, space, and industry (link) is of particular importance for regions. The NIS2 directive will also play a crucial role in public administrations.


On this basis, Brittany presented its partnership to the NEREUS Management Board, invited partners to join the initiative, and explored synergies between cyber resilience and space. The outcome was very positive: many NEREUS regions are already members of the partnership, or they expressed their interest in being part of it. Many shared the view that space can be an indispensable tool to strengthen cybersecurity services and applications. On this occasion, NEREUS consulted its members on ongoing activities in the cybersecurity domain and their vision on the dimension of space within cybersecurity. It was evident that cybersecurity is considered by some regions as a permanent or temporary commitment, and a priority for their administrative processes. In support of this, the regional space strategies recently developed, consider cybersecurity as a key area (see Hessen and Catalonia space strategy) or a separate strategy to be linked with in the future (see The Azores space strategy).  Other regions identify the role of space as vital in strengthening cybersecurity for the protection of their administrations’ archives, skills development, and the creation of cybersecurity centres (see the CyberOcc in Occitanie or the Hessen Cyber Competence Center or the CyberCampus in Nouvelle-Aquitaine). As a result, and given their great interest, the Network will organise a series of webinars on exploring the synergies of cybersecurity and space uses, and sharing best practises.


Brittany hosted last week, the 7th edition of the European Cyber Week 2022 (November 15 to 17) organised by The Pôle d’excellence cyber at the prestigious Jacobins Convent in Rennes and supported by the Brittany region amongst others (link). The event brought together a French and European ecosystem of excellence, to offer the possibility of high value-added exchanges between suppliers and users of cyber security solutions.


On the occasion of the European Day on the 16th of November (link), they had invited Ms Roya Ayazi, Secretary-General of NEREUS to join the panel ‘The EU action plan on synergies between civil, defence and space: how to make the most of the cooperation among specialised regional ecosystems?’. The panel discussed different sides of such strategic cooperation between space/e/defence/cyber industries and how the regional ecosystems specialised in space and cybersecurity could cooperate to enhance complementarity and facilitate innovative ways to cybersecurity of space assets.


Ms Ayazi shared the views of the Network and reported on the activities and vision of NEREUS regions.


The reality is that synergies between space and cybersecurity are a new and growing area of action/cooperation within and outside regions for which raising awareness is an important element to showcase and unlock the potential of space-based solutions. For example, they are connected through innovative technologies such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and post-quantum cryptography. In this respect, there are a few practical examples in which space can support cybersecurity[1] in a wide range of domains, such as transport/supply chain management, critical infrastructures, maritime surveillance and the insurance sector: i) GALILEO Authenticated services can provide Navigation Messages Authentication, enabling the detection of spoofing attacks ii) Satellite communications offer a unique alternative to the transmission of data through the terrestrial internet, where they can be more vulnerable to potential malicious attacks, iii) Earth observation data combined with Big Data Analytics and Machine Learning, could contribute to the detection in near-real-time of attacks and security breaches.


Very recently ENISA listed in the TOP 10 emerging cybersecurity threats the Lack of analysis and control of space-based infrastructure and objects. This coupled with the fact that the space economy will boom by 2030, makes working on space and cybersecurity a great opportunity for NEREUS.




Ms Roya Ayazi participating in the 7th edition of the European Cyber Week 2022 at the prestigious Jacobins Convent in Rennes.

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