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The pandemic has caused a surge in cyber-attacks, but Monaco is a step ahead


As Monaco embraces once again remote working, the country has to grapple with a by-product of lockdowns: cyberattacks.


The two pillars of 2020 – coronavirus and remote working – were relatively unheard of before the start of the year. But now that the former has democratised the latter, institutions and citizens have become more vulnerable to cyberattacks, and Monaco is no exception. « We had to react quickly when confronted with these unprecedented circumstances and it is true that the urgency of the matter did make us more vulnerable to attacks,” says Dominique Riban, director of the Monaco Cyber Security Agency (ASMN).

There has been an over 50% increase in attack attempts

Monaco is more vulnerable to cyberattacks…

Between March and July, the AMSN recorded a clear surge of cyber-attacks. “There has been an over 50% increase in attack attempts,” says Dominique Riban. “For instance through scam emails. Thankfully, we have put in place systems that allow us to detect alerts, understand them, eradicate them and, if necessary, repair damaged systems,” he explains.

…But businesses have fought back

What does this really mean for companies? As far as Monaco Digital is concerned, we have no choice but to adapt to this new situation. A blessing in disguise, says Françoise Milatos, Monaco Digital’s Deputy Managing Director. “We have democratised web-conferences and all collaborative digital tools in order to work together remotely. We have carried out several awareness campaigns and have also simulated fake attacks to evaluate the way our collaborators could react. We walk our clients through the risk, drawing special attention to any preventive measures. Although these new habits have been difficult to put in place, they will have a long-lasting impact on our employees,” she says.

We are sharing a great deal of information on issues of cyber-security

A Monaco-France alliance

Last October, a cooperation agreement was signed between the AMSN and the national French cyber-security agency – promising news according to Dominique Riban. Riban says that Monaco will now be able to “to draw on France’s experience, equipment and technical analysis. We are sharing a great deal of information on issues of cyber-security, which will allow us to be more efficient when introducing new regulations. In the event of a major crisis, the Franco-Monégasque agreement means that either country can rely on the other for help. So far, no attack, even if some may have heard the opposite, has managed to get past our security measures, which is obviously something we’re very proud of,”  say Dominique Riban.