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Can private-sector trust hackers who trade black for white hat?

By PATRICK STEPHENSON , BRUSSELS – The WannaCry ransomware attacks in May 2017 disabled hundreds of thousands of computers across more than 150 countries, even hitting hospitals in the United Kingdom. But the attack would have been far worse had a single 22-year-old cybersecurity researcher not crippled the unfolding attack by registering a domain name, an act that proved to be a ‘kill switch’ for the spreading malware. The expert did not understand what he was doing when he did it, but his expertise stopped the attacks far more quickly than institutional forces such as the police ever could. But what about…

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Impact of EU’s forthcoming defence fund riddled with unknowns

By BROOKS TIGNER , BRUSSELS – The rhetoric of EU and national leaders kow-tows incessantly to the vitality and importance of SMEs – small and medium sized enterprises – for Europe’s economic innovation and job-creating potential. Yet successful innovative SMEs in the EU that soar to become giants on the world stage are few and far between. There are a couple of Skype-type exceptions, but too many of Europe’s “garage” inventors who have a good idea, particularly in the digital field, head for the greener pastures of the USA where bureaucratic obstacles are lower, returns higher and venture capitalists more willing to take risks than their European counterparts. This points directly to the EU’s forthcoming European Defence Fund (EDF) and how it will generate high-tech results within the framework of PESCO, the permanent structured cooperation in defence that 23 EU member states (and counting) will set in motion in 2018. Such projects will necessarily have to draw in dual-use innovations from the commercial realm. A critical acid test for the defence fund will be to what extent it enables SMEs with interesting dual-use products in one PESCO country to...