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24 July 2012, 12:06

Brussels launches internet security survey

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The European Commission is planning further legislative measures to combat internet-based crime; to this end it has launched a consultation on cyber attacks and the protection of critical infrastructure from them. Interested citizens, businesses and government agencies are being asked to share their experiences and submit their proposals for improving internet security by 12 October. The consultation is primarily aimed at determining whether extended requirements to report security breaches and data loss and further preventive measures should be introduced. At present, such conditions apply across Europe, but only to companies supplying electronic communication networks, such as telecom companies and ISPs.

The Commission cites a 36 per cent increase in the number of web-based attacks in 2011 as one reason for carrying out the survey. Businesses in particular have, according to the commission, been frequent targets of internet-based attacks and victims of the corresponding financial implications; the yearly rate of increase in the number of such incidents increased from 5 per cent in 2007 to 20 per cent in 2010. The World Economic Forum fears that this could increase further, resulting in losses of up to $250 billion in the next few years. The Commission therefore believes that an improved legal framework for internet security is needed.

Brussels has already launched several initiatives in this area. The European Parliament is currently consulting on a controversial European Commission Directive on attacks on information systems. This would impose a Europe-wide ban on hacking tools capable of being used for cyber-attacks or for automatically cracking passwords.

(Stefan Krempl / fab)

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