What can the EU do to protect itself from Cyber Attacks?

Cyber attacks can be an especially alarming concept when we consider the dangers of hackers getting into not only our personal files, bank statements, home addresses etc. But also a worldwide issue with top security and classified files being at risk of leaking or getting into the wrong hands. This becomes an increasing problem when hackers realise this and use it against places like the EU as an act of war.

What are the problems the EU is facing?

Cyber attacks on the EU in particular are becoming an increasing problem. The sheer number of security challenges the EU faces every hour of every day is getting to an unmanageable stage. By 2020 the EU suspects to have tens of billions of digital devices connected together and online. However, this comes with a severe risk. These risks need to be addressed and talked about now so that organisations, individuals and the government can protect against them starting now. Especially when the hackers tend to aim for EU institutions or member states.

The viruses and security incidents caused by such cyber attacks can really affect the whole makeup of our ICT systems. NIS is the name given to such events, NIS stands for network and information systems incidents. Such NIS can lead to partial or total technical failures and need to be dealt with sooner rather than later as these attacks are increasing in not only frequency but also sophistication.

The European Commission found that there was a 38% rise in security incidents across all industries in 2015. 80% of European companies experienced at least one cyber security incident, many of these experiencing more than one, in 2015. And finally that 86% of EU members think that cyber crimes are increasing as is the general risk. With 51% of EU participants feeling totally uninformed on cyber threats it’s clear as day that there is a serious issue at hand. On top of this, 69% of companies have little to no basic training or understanding when it comes to their evident exposure to highly sophisticated cyber risks.

Should cyber attacked be treated as an act of war?

The notion that cyber attacks should be treated as an act of war is a long standing view and opinion of many. An upcoming policy derived from the EU will eventually declare cyber attacks as an act of war with some cases even justifying a weapon based response. Whilst we all agree that cyber attacks need to be dealt with somehow, there has been much backlash to this approach.

The key recommendations to improve cyber security

There are many advancing ideas that can be implemented to improve cyber security. This includes sharing information and technical co-ordination. As well as this the ENISA (European Network and Information Security Agency), needs more time, effort and funding to work at full capacity. Companies shouldn’t touch encrypted technologies at any point. And lastly, we all need to be open to start the conversation and get the information out there.

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