EU under pressure to bite back in cyber war

The EU’s coming under pressure to do more to boost the fight against cyber attacks, with calls for more of a united approach and regulation of online services and products.

It comes amid mounting threats from those intent on stealing our data, and those who seemingly want to destabilise governments and economies.

In December, the Trump administration blamed North Korea for the so-called ‘WannaCry’ cyber attack – which crippled hospitals, banks and other companies globally last year.

Pyongyang dismissed the accusation, as political provocation.

“I wouldn’t like to mention a specific country because all countries have deterrent weapons and cyber is now a weapon,” said Affonso Ferreira, from CNRS, the French National Centre for Scientific Research, when asked if North Korea was a threat.

“It’s about us, it’s about the individual. We need to be clear about the sources of information that we have and so when it comes to elections, for instance, and to fake news, we just have to be sure that we have trusted sources of information.”

The European Commission is looking to strengthen cyber security with a raft of new measures. A public hearing was held in Brussels on Tuesday as part of the advisory efforts.

It is clear cooperation beyond the EU’s borders will be essential.

“What we are seeing in our report is that we need to cooperate with certain countries,” Alberto Mazzola, a cyber security rapporteur, told Euronews.

“We need to be stronger to identify countries in essentially the Western world, to increase cooperation with the US, Japan, India, Israel, certain countries, how to develop means to be able to defend ourselves in a cyber war.”

In 2016 in the EU, there were 4,000 ransomware attacks per day, according to figures published by the European Commission. Half of all crimes are cyber-related in some countries. And 80 percent of European companies suffered at least one cyber security incident in 2016.

Keeping up with the pace of technology is tough. The EU has a battle on its hands to keep us all safe from the cyber threat.