Technologies such as ‘blockchain’, linked to crypto assets, open great business opportunities but also multiply cyber risks. Criminals take advantage of regulation.
Although the large-scale adoption of technology has generated numerous benefits and business opportunities, it has also multiplied the exposure to cyber risks for individuals, companies and governments alike . Earlier this year, the World Economic Forum identified cybersecurity as one of the top ten international concerns, the only one of a technological nature. The relationship between these risks and technologies such as blockchain and cryptoassets was addressed yesterday at the Expansión AI and new technologies meeting.
Blockchain technology has already established itself in various sectors, contributing to a profound transformation of business models. During their initial stages, some cryptoassets were associated with use for illicit purposes due to difficulties in traceability. “Everyone understands what blockchain is, but there can be different types depending on the underlying technologies,” said José Javier Martínez Herráiz, delegate of the Rector of Information Security at the University of Alcalá .
For example, he explained that bitcoin uses known algorithms, but other cryptocurrencies are more complicated to track. “There are numerous different technologies that evolve very quickly: the world of crime is ahead because it has many means,” warned Martínez Herráiz. In this sense, he added that universities are contributing to the research of these technologies in the field of cryptocurrencies.
Alberto Redondo, commander of the Civil Guard and head of the Criminal Cyberintelligence Group of the Judicial Police Technical Unit (UTPJ) , wanted to break the myth around the deep web or ‘dark zone’ of the Internet: “There is cybercrime, but not as much as you think.” On the other hand, he did warn about the new Crime as a Service model, which “is changing the paradigm of cybercrime and generates many problems in the field of deep cybercrime.” This concept includes ransomware attacks that seek affiliates through deep web forums, companies that offer the service of hindering the traceability of crypto assets and, above all, child sexual content.
To face these threats, Redondo explained that the Security Forces and Corps adapt their response structures. Furthermore, he highlighted the importance of international cooperation: “The fight against cybercrime cannot be understood without international judicial and police collaboration.” The sharing of good practices between companies and the Administration is also key, given that they are usually the victims of these attacks.
In the case of Europe, the MiCA ( Market in Crypto-Assets ) regulation opens a new panorama for financial institutions. “The cryptoasset market is going to change radically: the regulations specify the roles of each of the actors in the value chain,” said José Ángel Fernández Freire, executive president of Prosegur Crypto and director of innovation at Prosegur Cash . In this way, financial entities will emerge as product distributors, while companies like Prosegur assume the role of custodians.
Fernández Freire compared this situation to what happened in the 1970s, when financial institutions decided that they were going to stop storing banknotes in their own safes. Thus, “we offer a system that is unmatched in the world because it combines all the logical security measures with all the perimeter physical security measures that Prosegur has,” he stated.
From the perspective of a company specialized in certification, “Europe leads standardization and legislation in cybersecurity,” commented José Ruiz Gualda, co-director of jtsec (Applus+) . The push for regulations has made cybersecurity certification integrated as part of the business. “Maintaining cybersecurity in the supply chain (SBOM) is crucial, especially given the new regulations in both Europe (CRA) and the United States,” said Ruiz Gualda.
However, regulation also has a harmful side for entrepreneurs, to the extent that it can make it difficult to launch new products or services. “I agree that there has to be regulation, but I would like it to be more flexible so that it does not kill innovation: MicA falls very short of the projects we are already working on,” lamented Alex Puig, CTO and founder of Caelum Labs. . In particular, Puig added that he arrives “late and bad.”
Due to this trend towards overregulation, the founder of Caelum Labs commented that “there are many companies that are born in Europe and then end up leaving.” For Puig, the reason is not the search for more favorable taxation, but the fact that “at a technological level there are many countries that give you more opportunities by having more open regulation.”