EC proposals to improve cybersecurity

The European Commission today unveiled two new measures as part of its fight against cybercrime.  The first measure proposes new criminal offences relating to

  • the use of malicious software (botnets etc) for committing offences,
  • illegal interception of informations systems

and strengthens penalites for such crimes. The EU also proposes an improvement of European criminal justice/police cooperation by strengthening the existing structure of 24/7 contact points, including an obligation to answer within 8 hours to urgent request and the obligation to collect basic statistical data on cybercrimes.

The world is in dire need of general improvement in respect of international cooperation. The UK has it’s own Police Central eCrime Unit but the last time I looked this was staffed by very few people and was in serious need of both additional resources in the UK plus additional resorces internationally – eCrime has no borders.

I am not one to advocate an increase in “big brother” type activities and because of this am not generally supportive of proposed government initiatives such as the Intercept Modernisation Programme. We do however need to recognise that we live in an online world and this is where many of the crimes are happening. 

The biggest problem, however much the EU spends on cybersecurity, is that much of the threat comes from countries outside the EU with governments who have less of a concern regarding activities of their citizens outside of their own jurisdiction.

You can read about the new proposed measures here. They are part of the Digital Agenda programme and would repeal Framework Decision 2005/222/JHA (for those interested in this kind of stuff).

Following on from this point the second measure is a proposal for a Regulation to strengthen and modernise European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA). The Regulation would to extend ENISA’s mandate for five years (to 2017) and make several changes to the organisation and management of ENISA with a view to making the Agency more efficient and effective. Read about it here.

Cybercrime is in the news at the moment because of the Stuxnet worm affecting Iranian nuclear facilities. Read more here.  it’s a worry.

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