Italian Secret Services: “2014 Report to Parliament on Information Security” (March 5th, 2015)

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(unofficial English translation by Agatino Grillo, the official document in Italian is available here)

The Italian Act n.124 of 2007 requires the Government to give details to the Parliament of the Security Intelligence Policy and results achieved each year.
The Italian Secret Services “2014 Report” was publish in Italian on February 27th 2015 in pdf and ePUB formats.

Index of “2014 Report”

  • Premise
    • The intelligence in the institutional system
    • A renewal
    • Report guidelines
  • Part I - the asymmetries of the threat
    • The cyberthreat
    • The economic and financial dynamics
    • Extremist instrumentalization and subversive threat
    • International terrorist threat and its domestic dimension
    • Proliferation of unconventional weapons
  • Part II - the areas of instability
    • The crisis scenarios in Africa
    • The Syrian conflict and the Middle East
    • The Afghan-Pakistani scenario
  • Scenarios and trends: a summary
  • Annex: National Security Document

Executive Summary

The three priority areas of Italian intelligence that the Report outlines are:

  1. the jihadist phenomenon,
  2. the vulnerability of the economy and social context,
  3. cyberspace threats.

The report also contains two annexes: the first on “Risks perspectives”, the second intitled “National Security Document “ about the critical infrastructure protection and information security.

Part 1 – “Global Jihad, regional Jihad”

The first part, entitled “Global Jihad, regional Jihad”, focuses primarily on the evolution of threat to the western countries, evolution characterized by:

  • growth of the Islamic State,
  • continuous evolution of jihadist movement
  • enhanced ability to grip the radical message thanks to more effective and pervasive forms of communication.

The main driver of the terrorist threat is the homegrown extremism who produces both lonely wolves, autonomous cells and direct engagement by structured organizations operating in jihad theaters.
The second chapter is on African and Middle Eastern scenarios, in which the activism of jihadist terrorist groups represents a significant connection between the areas of instability affecting the North Africa, the Sahel-Saharan quadrant and the Middle East.
The first pages focus on the developments during the year in Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Egypt. The chapter continues with the developments in Mali, Somalia, Kenya, Gulf of Guinea, Nigeria, Central African Republic and South Sudan.
As for the regions of the Middle East, a special section is devoted to the conflict in "Syrak", with specific regard to the increased prominence of the Islamic State, to the detriment of other extremist groups, and the impact of the crisis on key humanitarian and security on the countries neighbors, such as Lebanon and Jordan.
The next steps are dedicated to the difficult process of stabilization in place in Yemen, to the evolution of the Iranian nuclear issue and developments in the Israeli- Palestinian peace process,.
The focus on regional criticizes moves further east, with a panoramic view of old and new frontiers of jihad, related to the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan, still characterized by Taliban activism in other Central Asian and related to the possible increase in terrorist activities in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia.

Second part - the Eco-Fin challenge

Threats addressed in Part 2 have as a reference the Eco-Fin challenge and the social framework.
In the section concerning threats to the economy, the analysis moves from the indicators that attest  the persistence, in 2014, of the recession. The analysis also highlights the centrality of economic and financial dimension as intelligence focus and identify various lines of action in defense of national interests and strategic assets:

  • the risks of industrial espionage and anti-competitive practices on national and international markets;
  • the protection of our investments abroad and also our critical infrastructure;
  • tax evasion phenomenon and avoidance;
  • banking and financial system protection and stability;
  • infiltration of organized crime in different economic sectors through money laundering and the acquisition of entrepreneurial in difficulty.

It continues with organized crime, first to highlight how the gangs exploiting the negative effects of the crisis, have continued to pursue strategies of infiltration in different sectors of the economy through money laundering of illicit origin and the acquisition of entrepreneurial in difficulty.
It then focuses on the interests of the Italian organized crime abroad and viability of structured foreign criminal groups operating in Italy.

Third part - the threat in cyberspace

The third part of the Report, entitled “The threat in cyberspace” moves by the most significant aspects of cyberthreat and then outlines the future challenges that intelligence will face regard to the evolution of the operating modes and the wide range of purposes and actors.
There are many different types of risk to the national economy security: attacks on critical infrastructure, security national digital espionage, hacktivism against institutional goals, cyberjihad.
Then next chapter is on preventive actions and perspectives, focused on the response and intelligence on possible developments of the phenomenon.

Scenarios and trends: a summary

The Report concludes with “Scenarios and trends: an overview”, which summarizes prospectively the composite view of the threat that will engage the intelligence in the near future.
Based on the indicators so far collected, it is foreseeable that the action of the Services should remain primarily focused on terrorism and jihadi threat to the Nation, including those that unfold in cyberspace.
The annex “National Security Document”, finally, summarizes the activities undertaken by the services - through a complex process which involves effectively all the components of the national cyber infrastructure, as outlined in the Prime Ministerial Decree of January 24, 2013 - in the field protection of critical infrastructure and tangible assets, as well as cyber security and national security.

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The full Report

  • Relazione al Parlamento 2014 (pdf, 4.1 MB, Italian)
  • Relazione al Parlamento 2014 (ePUB, 1.1 MB, Italian)

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