The battle is real – EU arms for the ‘online war’

Cyber attacks can be more dangerous to the stability of democracies and economies than guns and tanks.” – Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, claims at his State of the Union at the European Parliament on 13 September 2017.

Now, finally, the European Union is starting to really focus on fighting cybercrime.

Therefore the EU intends to upgrade their already existing programme ENISA, the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security, for instance. ENISA mostly coordinates the inner-EU efforts referring to cybersecurity by all governments and external specialists.

Furthermore, ENISA provides the EU’s member states with a framework of security tools and knowledge. For example, the Agency ENISA helps define Inner-European laws referring to cybersecurity methods, as well as providing all regions with confidence-building measures for the public.

After a period of several years, packed with a series of attacks ranging from small to massive cyber attacks this, however, seems to be more than necessary.

Cyber-attacks know no borders and no one is immune,” according to Juncker.

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By now, cybercrime is an issue concerning private individuals and companies all over the world. As well as this, whole governments are threatened as well and cybercrime is becoming more and more a political issue.

This became most obvious during the “Wanna Cry” attacks in May 2017. During the attack, thousands of different aims were hit, even British hospitals and the Russian interior ministry among others.

According to Europol, the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation announced the cyber attack “Wanna Cry” has reached unprecedented extent. After hacker had exploited an unreported security hole in the operation system Windows, concerned user were requested to pay a certain amount of money (private user at least €300 to €600 for instance), in order to get the power over their computers and data back.

Cedric de Vroey, online specialist and ethic hacker with his own company ‘N1N0X’, stated, cybercrime is now a “political game”. In late September 2017 two Danish ministries, the Ministry of Immigration and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were hit by a cyber attack. As a result, the websites have been down completely, though temporarily.

Once more the unpredictability of such assaults and the vulnerability of online content, regardless to whom, has been revealed.

One of the things making the issue so complicated is the fact, that there’s a huge amount of totally different criminals, with at least as many different aims and targets out there.

Cedric de Vroey claims: “That’s what’s makes it so hard to stop them.”
“There are thousands, millions of different targets out there”.

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Some may wonder, why the European Union intends to expand and intensify their cybersecurity strategy right now and didn’t months or years ago. According to Cedric de Vroey, the topic now hit the media to an enormous extent and therefore public interest has peaked. That’s why the European Union has increased its efforts to combat cybercrime massively, by putting more and more efforts into the Agency ENISA and the communication towards the public.

Therefore the EU is trying to raise awareness, even for such simple things as creating safe passwords for email accounts, etc. That is already a huge and important step towards a much safer online environment. “Our modern society is still pretty young. We still need to learn a lot. (Online) Security is the next hot topic now” on the agenda now, according to Cedric de Vroey.

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