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Cybercrime is increasing in intensity, complexity and magnitude, making enhanced cooperation essential to prevent attacks and child abuse, say Civil Liberties MEPs.

  • MEPs worried by the increase in cyber-attacks aimed at destroying critical infrastructure and destabilizing society
  • 80% of European companies have experienced at least one cyber security incident
  • More efforts and resources needed to fight organized networks of sexual abusers

In a resolution approved on Tuesday, MEPs point to the cross-border nature of cybercrime, stressing the need to improve information exchange among police and judicial authorities and cybercrime experts to ensure effective investigations and the gathering of electronic evidence.

While acknowledging the many benefits of the growing interconnectedness of the current world, they also warn of its risks and note that precautionary measures, both by private users, public institutions and business, “remain inadequate by far, primarily due to lack of knowledge and resources”.

The text underlines that malware (such as banking trojans) is still the main type of cyber-attacks but also stresses the raise in actions aimed at destroying critical infrastructure as well as at destabilizing societies, like the “WannaCry” ramsonware attack last May.

Children exploitation is another focus of concern, given that use of the internet starts at increasingly early age. MEPs insist that Eurojust and Europol must receive appropriate resources to fight organized networks and to accelerate the detection and referral of child abuse material.

The resolution also suggests the Commission and the member states to launch information campaigns to ensure than citizens, in particular children, but also public bodies and private companies, learn how to be safe online.

“White hat” hacking can as well be promoted, as a useful tool for the reporting of illegal content, such as child sexual abuse material, MEPs add.

Next steps

The non-legislative resolution prepared by Elissavet Vozemberg-Vrionidi (EPP, Greece) was approved with 50 votes to 4, with 2 abstentions. It will be put to a vote by the plenary in a future session.