Internet use and the number of connected devices continue to increase, but so do cyber threats. Parliament has approved new legislation to improve your security.
Activities by cybercriminals are increasing in complexity and sophistication. On Tuesday 12 March, MEPs voted in favour of the cybersecurity act which aims to improve the European response to the increasing number of cyber threats by strengthening the role of the European Agency for Network and Information Security (Enisa) and establishing a common cybersecurity certification framework.
Angelika Niebler, the MEP responsible for steering the plans through Parliament, said they wanted to tackle two issues. "The first issue relates to the increasing number of attacks on our critical infrastructure, which means on all aspects of our daily lives - electricity, communication, water etc.," said the German member of the EPP group. "The second issue relates to the increasing number of internet of things devices and the user’s mistrust in the safety and privacy of their devices."
Under the plans Enisa will get more staff and funding, while cybersecurity cooperation between EU countries will be intensified. There will be standardised certification for IT equipment across Europe. Initially certification is voluntary. By 2023 the European Commission will evaluate to what extent the scheme should become mandatory.
In addition, internet users will benefit from better information, which they can use to boost their security. According to a recent Eurobarometer survey, 87% of people in the EU regard cybercrime as an important challenge to the EU’s internal security and a majority are concerned about being victims. With the new rules in place, users will have recommendations on secure configurations and maintenance of their devices, availability and duration of updates and known vulnerabilities.
"The 2017 WannaCry cyberattack, which paralysed more than 200,000 IT systems across the EU at the same time, has shown that we need European initiatives to increase cybersecurity," said Niebler. "With the cybersecurity act, we have now laid the foundation for this. Europe could soon become the leading force in cybersecurity."