France opens new business campus to tackle cyberattacks

PARIS, Feb 15 (Reuters) - France is grouping the country's top cybersecurity experts in Paris' business district of La Defense, bringing together startups and household names to tackle the scourge of hacking, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Tuesday.

Cyberattacks have become the number one worry of the world's top company executives, according to a survey by PwC, and their growing number and sophistication could undermine the country's sovereignty, French leaders say.

"France ... doesn't want to depend on foreigners," Le Maire said at the inauguration of the venue. "It wants to be independent in advanced technologies."

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The project has drawn inspiration from a similar set up in Israel, CyberSpark, which has served as a model for Michel Van Den Berghe, the head of France's Campus Cyber.

The campus will be a base for cyber startups and experts from some of country's biggest listed companies such as LVMH, L'Oreal and largest banks.

"For a startup, to be in the same building as the biggest companies that could put their solutions in their catalogue, it's a great accelerator," Van Den Berghe said.

Campus Cyber can host 1,800 people. It is run by a company that is 44% owned and funded by the French state, with the rest of the capital divided among about 90 organisations, including country's leading companies in the field: Orange, defence company Thales , software maker Sopra Steria (SOPR.PA) and IT consulting firms Atos (ATOS.PA) and Capgemini (CAPP.PA).

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Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Alison Williams

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