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12 September 2012, 15:15

EU gets Computer Emergency Response Team

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CERT-EU logo The European Union has made its Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-EU) a permanent institution. The announcement was made on Twitter by EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes and came before even the existing pilot project's staff were informed. The emergency response team handles the network security of all EU institutions including the European Court of Justice and the European Central Bank.

The CERT has repeatedly been called to action, for example when hackers launched attacks on EU web sites during a dispute around the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), and after break-ins by data-hungry Chinese hackers. According to Antony Gravili, the spokesperson of the responsible EU Commissioner, Maroš  efčovič, the greatest threat to EU networks comes from hackers who steal information on a commercial basis. Their methods and tools are a challenge to all major organisations worldwide, said Gravili, adding that the international cooperation between CERTs is, therefore, crucial and that CERT-EU will play a major contributing role.

However, CERT-EU is currently offering a rather limited service: "Opening times: 09:00-17:00, Mondays to Fridays", says the official information brochurePDF. Apparently, incoming emails are only monitored by a duty officer during these times. Furthermore, two of the previous ten staff are leaving the team, including the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) expert. When asked about the staff members who are leaving, Gravili promised that there will be replacements. In terms of the "opening times", the spokesperson didn't want to commit, simply saying that "CERT-EU will expand its resources based on requirements".


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