Italian-built cybersecurity. Telsy, the cybersecurity division of national connectivity titan TIM, presented the first, wholly Italian, security-centred semiconductor, geared at fostering the country’s tech sovereignty. It has been designed to enhance digital security across a wide range of strategic areas, from the cloud (both public and private) to mobile devices and defence systems.
A State matter. The new microchip was unveiled on Thursday at the Ministry of Industry and Made in Italy. The host, Adolfo Urso, highlighted how protecting national assets is an increasingly important component of Italian industrial policy, as it becomes increasingly necessary to “protect ourselves from new risks” and to secure companies and the public administration from criminal activities. In this sense, a chip designed entirely in Italy “gives us greater guarantees of protection.”
- Italy’s digital transition is not just about fibre optics – the focus of attention in the last two years – but also the development of services, where security is crucial, pointed out TIM CEO Pietro Labriola.
- TIM is expanding the architecture to maintain public administration data and its encryption keys within the country, he explained, noting that the new chip is an extension of this effort – testifying to the company’s “vitality” and innovation drive.
Secure by (Italian) design. Eugenio Santagata, CEO of Telsy, noted that the work to build the chip was carried out “with other Italian and European partners” (he told Decode39 those will be revealed in due course and that the company aims to replace them in the future). In essence, the product – available in early 2024 – is a “security antibody” that can be inserted into any digital process, both upstream and downstream, and manage the security of any operating system.
- It stands out from the competition because only the Italian company holds the key to unlocking the secrets contained in its circuits, which are also resistant to future quantum threats.
- In short, remarked Mr Santagata, the chip “raises the bar” in terms of national security.
A piece of the jigsaw. “We have given ourselves a mission: to make the country more digital, more capable and more secure,” said Elio Schiavo, TIM’s Chief Enterprise and Innovative Solutions Officer, describing the company’s efforts to build “the largest ICT platform” in Italy. Its cloud division Noovle, which already accounts for a fifth of the €5 billion spent annually in cloud services, assists public administrations and large companies in their digital transformation, while its subsidiary Olivetti is building the largest artificial intelligence platform for smart cities, he explained.
- Telsy, on its part, works to manage the security dimension – increasingly relevant for a country that attracts roughly 9% of all global cyberattacks, which are primarily focussed on public administration servers.
Meanwhile, Italy goes digital. As Minister Urso explained, the government has injected a further €5 billion for the digital economy in the 2024 budget (on top of €37 billion from European funds). Meanwhile, the Enterprise Ministry is drawing up a National Microelectronics Plan and has recently broken ground on a new chip design foundation. All these efforts are also bolstered by international collaborations, such as the one Minister Urso just signed with Japan.