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The EU is ramping up investment in cybersecurity in an effort to stay apace with other world powers and defend effectively against digital threats.
In addition to this, they’re also planning to introduce new legislation to protect consumers, and work on using diplomacy to work more closely with other nations on the issue.
The developments were due to be released later this month however Reuters managed to obtain a copy of the report early.
The last few years have seen a rise in cyberattacks on national institution; the WannaCry attack earlier this year for example hit the NHS in the UK, and infiltrated other countries’ infrastructures.
According to Europol, losses from cyber crime have been in the region of 265 billion euros per year on average, which indicates the seriousness of the issue and the need for urgent action.
Much of the focus of the policies rests on identifying threats and attackers and moving swiftly to stop them. The report says: “In order to increase our chances of catching perpetrators, we need to improve our capacity to attribute cyber attacks to those responsible.”
There are also plans to develop a European encryption capacity, to provide more generalised protection and allow for more efficient cyber defence.
Meanwhile, EU member states are driving action themselves.
A recent cyber security exercise was overseen by the Estonian Ministry of Defence.
This involved working closely with the EU’s cyber security agency, ENISA, to stage a simulated attack on a number of EU institutions and coordinate the best response, including how to communicate across different states and deal with any media responses to an attack.
The aim of the exercise is to provoke more debate around the issue and spark further action in the area.
There are a number of questions that arise when talking about EU cyber security, which many are hoping to address as quickly as possible.
These include discussions about how cyber defence action would work alongside international law, and how the individual laws and regulations of each EU member state might affect a collective response to any cyber attack.
Other dilemmas involve leadership; who would be in charge of a cyber defence force and what are the problems associated with any one state having most of the power in this area.
As we see more cyber attacks directed at national institutions and states, it becomes more and more important to think about how best to respond on an international level.
It will be interesting to see how different countries choose to address the cyber threat, and how it affects international relations in years to come.
What do you think? Should governments be taking the cyber security threat more seriously? Are they missing some important points? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.