“When we talk about Portugal in cyberspace, it makes me want to cry. What is Portugal in cyberspace? I don't know anyone who is asking this question and trying to structurally understand it”, said the professor at the Instituto Superior Técnico, who was speaking at a webinar promoted by the Instituto Jurídico da Comunicação (IJC) of the Faculty of Law of the University of Coimbra, entitled “(In)Security in the Network – Planning of the Virtual Space”.

For the researcher, it is essential for the country to define what is “important to preserve in the face of attacks” that could destroy information or change functionality.

“What is essential that we have to preserve in order to be resilient and restore a minimum of social life in the face of an attack?”, he asked, noting that there is no work done in this direction, except in the context of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and which always follows “in a spirit of strict military understanding”.

José Tribolet pointed, for example, to the need to preserve data such as those held by the Institute of Registries and Notaries.

“It is the responsibility of the State to be the source of truth in the face of institutional elements for the life of the nation. And what is being done to list what is essential? What is being done to preserve it? Assuming that there is destruction, where are the information bases and how soon [will they be restored]?” he asked.

Very worrying

For the specialist, the situation “is very worrying”, considering that there is no training or thought around these issues.

“The preservation of the essential structure and information associated with entities critical to the life of the country is fundamental. We have to have mechanisms of preservation and resilience,” he pointed out.

According to the professor, the world is “at an accelerated risk of losing control of evolution”, because it acts “without understanding the dynamics of systems”.

“We need urgent measures to make society more robust. It is necessary to define acts of computer engineering so that we can hold computer engineers responsible for the acts. Today, anyone puts a database anywhere and no one is going to ask for professional requirements or qualifications,” he noted.