Europe is going through large-scale cyber-attacks. As such, the European Commission announced plans to put together a group called the Joint Cyber Unit. This group will be tasked to take on internet attacks brought about by malware and ransomware.
The rise of these attacks is deemed as a threat to national security, especially so because the number of cases rose from 423 only in 2019 to 756 in 2020. The plan is to deploy a team of cyber-experts at a national scale. These experts will be deployed in various countries in the European Union.
The Vice President of the European Commission said that the hacks on the fuel supplies of the US were one of many that gave way to this plan. The attack caused a 5-day shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline. This oil pipeline is 5,500 miles long and carries 2.5 million barrels of oil per day on the East Coast of the US.
The closure resulted in the tightening of the oil supply and bumped the prices of oil. Colonial Pipeline said that it could take days before they could bring back the supply chain to a normal status. The gang responsible for this was Darkside—they attacked the systems of Colonial Pipelines, and this caused the company to go offline.
Ransomware is also a big problem. Hackers will find their way into the systems of companies and hold them hostage unless a ransom was paid. This means that no company can be safe, even casinos like Vulkan Vegas pl, unless they tighten their security processes. Ransomware hackers will do what they can to insert malicious software into a company’s computer. This will give access to the hackers, giving them the power to control the company’s systems.
The United States government created what is called the Ransomware Task Force to combat this. The UK, on the other hand, created the National Cyber Security Centre. The UK government also issued a statement stating that ransomware is the biggest threat to the country.
Meanwhile, Ireland’s health service also suffered from this kind of attack. The hackers caused widespread disruption in the country’s health system. However, the same group of hackers provided the tool to fix it. The group behind this attack on Ireland’s health care system is Conti. It asked the health care service for $20 million in exchange for restoring the services. However, they handed a tool to solve the problem despite the ransom not being paid.
This is a warning—the hackers are sending a message that they have the capability to bring down a company that has a reliance on computers and software programs.
A New Strategy
The plan for a joint effort is part of the new EU Cybersecurity Strategy. It covers security essentials for hospitals and energy grids—any facility or organization that uses software to run its business. The strategy also includes the Internet of Things (IoT)—apps that we use to make appliances work at home. The same thing goes for offices and factories.
The focus of this strategy is for groups to come together and build better systems and capabilities. The aim is to create a system that includes a disaster response—a way to react to major cyber-attacks. Ultimately, the group will work with international agencies to ensure peace and order in cyberspace. The strategy gives a concrete line-up of how the Joint Cyber Unit could respond to threats and successful ransomware attacks. The goal is to share this information with the group of EU States.
Legislation and Certification
A process like this will have to go through legislative processes. Since cyber-attacks are almost always cross-border, members of the European Union should work together to ensure that each state has the capacity to supervise its cyberspace. This can be done by sharing information, and the directive to do this is called NIS Directive, which stands for Network and Information Systems.
NIS has already been implemented in several countries and only went through a review in 2020. The directive ensures that countries will have the cooperation of various government bodies to prevent cyber-crime and react properly if it occurs.
As far as certification goes, the general public must be able to trust products that take their information and keep it in cyberspace. As such, companies that offer various products and services that are within the boundaries of cyberspace should get a certification.
This certification process requires that the company that manufactures products pass the government standards as far as cybersecurity is concerned. This should give customers the peace of mind that their data are safe from hackers. Companies must not only protect their data but also their systems. Right now, there are several IT security standards in the European Union, but this will be revisited time and again to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of cyberspace.