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Home » Cyber Security, Technology

Cybersecurity in a connected world

Submitted by on 20 Sep 2018 – 16:41

With its strong industrial base, Europe can become a leading player in cybersecurity. Angelika Niebler MEP says we should reinforce Europe’s cybersecurity efforts through European cybersecurity certification schemes

Technology is a disruptive force. It shapes and improves our daily lives and enables new business models. However, ensuring security, privacy and compliance of this disruptive force is one of the major challenges our society is facing today. On one hand, we welcome and facilitate the global digital evolution, on the other hand the increasing number of cyber-attacks shows the vulnerability of our data and the need to protect them.

The new proposal for an EU ‘Cybersecurity Act’ hast two objectives: First, we have to improve consumers’ trust in digital technologies and secondly we should reinforce Europe’s cybersecurity efforts through European cybersecurity certification schemes.

Why exactly is a strong European cybersecurity certification system necessary?

Do you remember the global cyber-attack ‘WannaCry’ in 2017 which jeopardized the IT security of hospitals in the UK, computers of telecommunication systems in Spain and the train system in Germany? An increasing amount of attacks like the WannaCry ransomware attack of 2017, which not only affected one but several member states, is challenging the digital evolution and requires Europe to step up and be a leader in cybersecurity.

Some member states already have high quality certification schemes in place but others still lack behind. To bring all member states up to speed and to ensure that Europe is equipped to face the challenges the IoT world is imposing on industries and consumers, we need a more coordinated European approach. Europe must be able to react in a rapid and coordinated way to tackle attacks like the WannaCry attack. Cyber attacks do not stay within borders, so our answers to these attacks cannot do that either.

To put a strong European system in place, the European Parliament believes that a strong EU Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) is needed. We therefore strengthened the Agency by increasing its budget, staff and providing it with a permanent mandate.

In line with a European approach, ENISA is also equipped with new tasks. Besides operational cooperation, support in capacity building and forwarding information, the Agency has new tasks such as the preparation of candidate European cybersecurity schemes. However, the exercise of its new tasks does not touch the competences of member states regarding public security, defence, national security and criminal law.

Why is an increased consumer trust needed to master the digital evolution?

Do you remember toy doll Cayla, whose software vulnerability allowed hackers to listen and speak to the children playing with it? With more and more devices and related services connected to the internet, consumers are increasingly put at risk of cyber attacks. To support the acceptance of digital technologies in our daily lives, we believe that it is of utmost importance to create more trust in the security of the devices that we are all using and to inform the consumers respectively.

Therefore, according to the European Parliament, consumers should be provided with product information for certified IoT devices, services and processes so that they can learn more about the security level and the risks against which the IoT device can provide resistance. The consumer also needs to be informed about available updates and recommended actions which allow the consumer himself to arrange for more cybersecurity.

With its strong industrial base, Europe can become a leading player in cybersecurity.