Commission Launches New Cybersecurity Strategy

The European Commission unveiled the new cybersecurity  strategy on December 16, in a bid to strengthen the bloc’s digital resilience. On the strategy, the EU proposes the creation of a joint national security authority unit and another one to deal with incidents.

The news arrived a few days after the European Medicines Agency suffered a cyber attack, when regulatory submissions of the COVID-19 vaccine were hacked.

The Commission says it will deliver towards the digital transformation of societies and economies by investing on infrastructure and skills capable of safeguarding the digital realm.

This includes an “EU-wide Cyber Shield” connecting national security authorities through the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to boost situational awareness and detect early signs of attacks.

Also, the Commission announced it will secure the next generation of 5G networks and it urged member states to complete the implementation of the EU’s recommendations on 5G.

The EU’s new strategy also foresees a cyber unit to respond to incidents and threats, and improved cooperation between member states and with organisations like NATO.

“The digital transformation is accelerating, but it can only succeed if people and businesses can trust that the connected products and services - on which they rely – are secure," said Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

Critical infrastructures

The aim of the new strategy is to capacitate a joint resilience against cyber threats while ensuring that “citizens and businesses can fully benefit from trustworthy and reliable services and digital tools”, says the Commission.

On the strategy, the Commission proposes legislation to deal with critical entities covering ten sectors. These include energy, transport, banking, financial market infrastructures, health, drinking water, water waste, digital infrastructure, public administration and space.

“Cyber attacks are part of our reality. Just like we do in the physical world, we need to protect our democratic institutions, our public services, our hospitals and our industry,” expressed the Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton on Twitter.

Next Steps

Further examinations to the proposed legislation are still to happen between the Parliament and the Council.

As soon as the proposals are agreed and adopted, EU countries have 18 months to implement them.

An agreement is expected in the early months of 2021.