Luxembourg bets on supercomputers | Financial Times

Cyber attacks are unlikely ever to be eliminated, according to some experts.

“Prevention of security issues is a lost cause,” says Koen Maris, cybersecurity leader at management consultancy PwC Luxembourg. He says that, for organisations, it is better to detect and eliminate an attack as early as possible, instead of “putting all your money in the prevention basket”. 

There certainly is money available. For a country with a population of less than a million people, nearly half of whom hold foreign nationality, the Luxembourg cybersecurity industry is booming. According to LuxInnovation, the national innovation agency, the Grand Duchy has 310 companies working in the field, 80 of which have cybersecurity as their core business. A third of start-ups have cybersecurity as their core.

By comparison, the UK, with a population more than 100 times larger, at 67m, had 1,200 cybersecurity companies at the end of 2019 — less than four times the number in Luxembourg.

Franz Fayot

“We see cybersecurity not only as a defence issue, but also as an economic success factor,” says economy minister Franz Fayot. 

An organisation called Security Made in Lëtzebuerg, set up by the Ministry of the Economy, provides cybersecurity services free of charge. Its UK and French counterparts, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the National Cybersecurity Agency (ANSSI), both stem from the French ministry of defence and the UK’s intelligence organisation GCHQ respectively.

“This subtle difference in focus means that the ecosystem [in Luxembourg] is more strongly geared towards business needs, rather than those of the military,” says Laurent de la Vaissière, partner at management consultancy KPMG.

The EU is hoping its investment in supercomputers can help find new coronavirus drugs © AFP via Getty Images

The Luxembourg government is not just focused on protection, but also on supporting its financial industry and remaining an attractive business partner. Investment in expanding technological capacity and infrastructure continues, with projects including MeluXina, a €30m supercomputer that is expected to be completed in May. It is backed by the…