Triple A security from Thales

Hardly a day goes by without the threat of an attack on our organisations, institutions and the way of life of ordinary citizens. What's needed today is an approach to security that's Active, Adaptive and Always Learning, according to Marc Darmon, Thales Executive Vice President, Secure Communications and Information Systems.

What has changed in the security sector since the last edition of Milipol?

Security has become an inescapable concern in modern society. With the rising number of terrorist attacks, data breaches, cyberattacks, industrial accidents and natural disasters, governments and businesses have really started to wake up to the dangers. They come to us to help them protect four vital spaces — States, cities, critical infrastructure and cyberspace — and now more than ever, they need our help to measure up to risks that threaten the everyday lives of citizens and the economic system as a whole.

A world that is more open and more interconnected, largely as a result of rapidly changing digital technologies, is a world full of opportunities. But the revolution of modern times creates new risks as well as new opportunities. Cyberattacks are becoming more frequent and more sophisticated, and can have drastic consequences. Our customers have understood this and their demands are changing quickly.

What are your customers' new demands?

They want to achieve four key objectives:

  • Early detection by automatically detecting the warning signs and recognising risk situations, which means being able to analyse huge quantities of data in real time.
  • Actively prevent attacks both in the physical world and in cyberspace. This involves providing the emergency services, for example, with secure, resilient, high data rate communications, as well as developing data encryption and multi-level protection solutions for computers, networks and information systems.
  • Make the right decisions faster at every decisive moment thanks to supervision systems capable of picking up weak signals, correlating information from different sources and sharing it with the right people at the right time, while keeping the data and the communications secure in all circumstances.
  • Develop an optimal collaborative response capability by relying on quick-to-deploy 4G and satcom solutions, ruggedised equipment, geolocation of security services and first responders in the field, and georeferenced citizen alert applications, for example.


What do you mean by Triple A security?

Trust and security are now indissociable. You can't have security without trust, which is why we have made this reference to the rating agencies' most trusted financial instruments. But for us, Triple A stands for Active, Adaptive and Always Learning.

The first point is that security needs to be active, and even proactive, because simply reacting to an event or situation is no longer sufficient. Security today relies on permanent surveillance by systems that can detect weak signals in real time and issue alerts the moment an abnormal situation arises. In Mexico City, our Ciudad Segura system has brought down average emergency response times from 12 minutes to a little more than 3 minutes, and crime rates have fallen by 56% since 2009. It also analyses crowd movements to improve safety and security during one of the world's biggest pilgrimages.

Adaptive means that security technologies need to adapt to real-life situations, to the way they are actually applied in the field, and to the day-to-day needs of users. For example, we have developed secure 4G communication systems with voice, video and data capabilities and high availability so that every police patrol in the field can access broadband services, especially when responding to emergencies and in critical situations. Another example is our Citadel app, which adapts instant messaging technology for professional use. Instant messaging is a hugely popular and efficient way of communicating, but professionals who need to exchange sensitive information want a solution that offers complete security as well as fine-grained confidentiality control.

Always learning is a key characteristic of Triple A security because learning from the past has taken on a new dimension today. With big data analytics, vast quantities of data generated by security systems in any given situation can be compared in real time with datasets from earlier situations. That frees up human operators to concentrate on tasks with higher added value. Provided, of course, that the system can adapt to the extreme diversity and versatile nature of the threats. A trusted probe installed in an information system to protect it from cyberattacks cannot simply use known attack signatures. Artificial intelligence, under human supervision, provides additional protection by detecting atypical events in real time, alerting operators and then learning from their responses. We log more than 4 billion cybersecurity events a day for each customers, and our systems issue 50 incident alerts. And every day, interacting with human operators, they learn to become more vigilant and their alerts become more pertinent.

What about the digital transformation? How do digital technologies affect security?

Thales has expanded its capabilities in digital technologies in a big way. In addition to our R&D and engineering efforts in the digital field — more than 80% of Thales's 25,000 researchers and engineers already work on digital technologies — we have invested over 1 billion euros since 2014 to acquire a number of tech companies specialising in connectivity and the Internet of Things, Big Data, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.

Artificial intelligence, for example, has applications in videoprotection. It is no longer humanly possible for security professionals to keep track of the video streams from thousands of CCTV cameras, so Thales has developed ways to automatically detect abnormal situations and alert operators in real time. Artificial intelligence helps them react quickly and exploit thousands of hours of video recordings efficiently.

Another example is in cybersecurity: the probes we install to detect cyberattacks now incorporate machine learning algorithms that learn from earlier attacks and spot abnormal events that couldn't have been identified without artificial intelligence.

We are now also the world leader in data security. With the new European regulation on data protection (GDPR) coming into effect on 25 May 2018, we help organisations meet their compliance requirements so they can really make the deadline an opportunity to rebuild public trust in the digital society. In another example, Thales's data encryption systems protect 80% of the world's banking transactions — in other words they keep your credit card number and PIN code secure when you make a purchase.

In the field of real-time big data analytics, the recent acquisition of Guavus puts us in a stronger position to meet the new demands of our customers. Connected objects and infrastructures are packed with sensors and generate vast quantities of data that our customers need to analyse in real time. Guavus analyses more than 5 petabytes (5,000 terabytes) of real-time data for customers every day, and with their expertise we are going to bring the security market the benefits of this extraordinary technology.

We offer connectivity solutions based on the best 4G technologies that will revolutionise the day-to-day lives of security services in the line of duty. Our solutions will bring them permanent access to reliable, secure, high data rate 4G communication services, wherever they are and whenever they need them. For mobile communications, our multi-operator Eiji solution offers security services and emergency response personnel the combined coverage of three mobile phone operators, with the option to switch to satellite communications if no mobile signal is available because of gaps in coverage or network saturation.

The international Milipol Paris exhibition will be a chance for us to present a whole range of solutions that leverage these technologies to help our customers better meet their operational objectives while benefitting from Triple A security — security that's Active, Adaptive and Always learning!