Barrage of cyberattacks pushes EU to pool powers to fight hackers.
The European Union wants to launch a new cyber unit to respond to cyberattacks, according to a draft of the plan seen by POLITICO.
The European Commission will present its plan on Wednesday to set up what it calls the “Joint Cyber Unit,” which would allow national capitals hit by cyberattacks to ask for help from other countries and the EU, including through rapid response teams that can swoop in and fight off hackers in real time, according to the draft.
A spate of cyberattacks have wreaked havoc on the Continent, leading to concerns that Europe cannot defend itself or its trade secrets against adversaries. The EU’s plan aims to help countries fight back against increasingly sophisticated and brash attacks by pooling national governments’ cybersecurity powers.
The plan would also set up a platform for cybercrime police, cyber agencies, diplomats, military services and cybersecurity firms to coordinate responses and share resources. And it would prepare regular threat reports, prepare and test crisis response plans and set up information-sharing agreements between authorities and private cybersecurity firms.
The Commission first promised to set up a Joint Cyber Unit in 2019 to stop the cyberattacks that have compromised EU institutions, agencies, national ministries and departments, and leading European companies and organizations.
But the plan took many months to finalize because the EU doesn’t have competence over national security, and EU countries have been hesitant to give away control over it.
A volley of cyberattacks since have hit national and EU institutions, and could force governments to band together. The European Medicines Agency was breached; cyber espionage campaigns targeted several government officials including Belgium’s interior minister and dozens of Polish politicians; and hospitals in Ireland and France have sustained ransomware attacks.