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EU to beef up #cybersecurity

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The General Affairs Council today (20 November) adopted conclusions calling for the strengthening of European cybersecurity and enhancing cyber resilience across the EU, in line with the tasking from the European Council in October 2017.

The conclusions stress the need for all EU countries to make the necessary resources and investment available to address cybersecurity. They welcome the intention of increasing EU efforts in cybersecurity research and development by setting up a network of cybersecurity competence centres across the Union.

The Council also backs the plan to set up a world-class European cybersecurity certification framework to increase trust in digital solutions. The conclusions highlight the important connection between trust in digital Europe and achieving cyber resilience across the EU. Significant attention is paid to the strength of cryptography used in products and services within the digital single market.

Other measures highlighted by the Council include providing the necessary law enforcement tools to tackle cybercrime, developing a coordinated EU-level response to large-scale cyber incidents and crises, and conducting pan-European cybersecurity exercises on a regular basis. Regarding the global and diplomatic aspects of cybersecurity, the Council recognizes the importance of international co-operation and welcomes the creation of a clear framework for using the political, diplomatic and economic tools available to the EU as a response to malicious cyber activities.

"Cybercrime and state-sponsored malicious cyber activities are one of the largest global threats to our societies and economies. We already lose around €400 billion globally every year due to cyber-attacks. This clearly underlines the need for the EU to use the available tools to increase stability in cyberspace and respond to large-scale cyber incidents. The EU simply has to stay ahead of the game,” said Estonia's Deputy Minister for European Affairs Matti Maasikas, chairman of today's Council meeting. “Increasing our efforts and investment in cybersecurity is a pre-condition for building a strong and trusted digital single market for our citizens,” Maasikas added.

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Cyber-espionage

Commission launches #Women4Cyber - A registry of talents in the field of cybersecurity

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On 7 July the Commission, together with the Women4Cyber initiative of the European Cybersecurity Organization (ECSO) launched the first online registry of European women in cybersecurity that will connect expert groups, businesses and policy makers to talents in the field.

The registry is an open, user-friendly database of women that have expertise in cybersecurity, aiming to address the growing demand for cybersecurity professionals in Europe and the related shortage of talents in the field. Its launch follows the European Skills Agenda for sustainable competitiveness, social fairness and resilience that the Commission presented on 1 July 2020.

A Europe Fit for the Digital Age Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager said:  “Cybersecurity is everyone's business. Women bring experience, perspectives and values into the development of digital solutions. It is important to both enrich the discussion and make the cyberspace more secure.”

Promoting our European Way of Life Vice President Margaritis Schinas  said: “The cybersecurity field is suffering a massive skills shortage. This talent shortage is exacerbated by the lack of female representation in the field. The updated Skills Agenda adopted by the Commission last week aims to close such gaps. A diverse cybersecurity workforce will certainly contribute to more innovative and robust cybersecurity. The registry launched today will be a useful tool to promote women cybersecurity professionals and create a more diverse and inclusive cybersecurity ecosystem.”

Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said: “Over the years we have been promoting various successful initiatives aimed at increasing training in digital skills, notably in the cybersecurity field. Every cyber team needs to combine various skills combining data science, analytics and communication. The registry is a tool aimed at achieving better gender balance in the cybersecurity workforce.”

The registry, which outlines diverse profiles and maps various areas of expertise, is accessible to everyone and will be updated regularly. More information about the Women4Cyber initiative is available here, about the Commission Cybersecurity strategy here and you can join the Women4Cyber registry by clicking here

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#EU Cybersecurity: Commission launches public consultation on the NIS directive

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The Commission launched a public consultation on the revision of the Directive on security of network and information systems (the NIS Directive). Since the current Directive entered into force in 2016, the cyber-threat landscape has been evolving quickly. The Commission now plans to kick-start the procedure for the revision of the NIS Directive, starting with a public consultation that aims to collect views on its implementation and on the impact of potential future changes.

A Europe Fit for the Digital Age Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager said: “As our daily lives and economies become increasingly dependent on digital solutions, we need a culture of state of the art security across vital sectors that rely on information and communication technologies.”

Promoting our European Way of Life Vice-President Margaritis Schinas said: “The review of the Network and Information Systems Directive is an integral part of our forthcoming EU Security Union Strategy that will provide an EU co-ordinated and horizontal approach to security challenges”.

Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton, said: “The coronavirus crisis has highlighted how important it is to ensure the resilience of our network infrastructure, in particular in sensitive sectors such as health. This consultation is an opportunity for stakeholders to inform the Commission on the state of the cybersecurity preparedness of companies and organisations and to propose ways to further improve it.”

Since its adoption, the NIS Directive has ensured that member states are better prepared for cyber incidents and have increased their cooperation through the NIS Co-operation Group. It obliges companies that provide essential services in vital sectors, namely in energy, transport, banking, financial market infrastructures, health, water supply and distribution and digital infrastructure, as well key digital service providers, such as search engines, cloud computing services or online marketplaces, to protect their information technology systems and report major cybersecurity incidents to the national authorities.

The consultation, which will be open until 2 October 2020, seeks opinions and experiences from all interested stakeholders and citizens. More information about the EU's actions to strengthen cybersecurity capacities is available here and in these questions & answers, and more information about the work of NIS Co-operation Group is here.

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EU launches a €10.5 million call for projects in #Cybersecurity

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The Commission has launched a new call, worth €10.5 million through the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) programme, for projects that will work on stepping up Europe's cybersecurity capabilities and cooperation across member states. In particular, they will work in various areas, such as on co-ordinated response to cybersecurity incidents, cybersecurity certification, capacity building and institutional co-operation on cybersecurity matters, as well as co-operation between the public and the private sector.

Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said: “Supporting concrete projects in the area of cybersecurity helps advance innovative technologies and solutions in a targeted way. The call launched today will contribute to strengthening our resilience against cyber threats, in line with our digital ambitions in Europe and our overall strategy comprising the Cybersecurity Act, the NIS Directive and the Cyber Blueprint Recommendations.”

The deadline for applicants to submit their proposal on the 2020 CEF Telecom Calls web page is 5 November 2020 and the allocation of grants is expected to be announced as of May 2021.More information on the new call is available here. More information on the EU's actions to strengthen cybersecurity capacities is available in these questions & answers, while EU-funded cybersecurity projects can be found here. 

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