The European Union Adopts A Cyber Security Strategy

The European Union Council has formally adopted the March  2021 conclusions on the EU's cyber security strategy which was presented to the Commission in 2020. It contains a framework for how to defend businesses, organisations and EU citizens from cyber attacks and to promote secure information systems. 
 
The connclusions set a key objective of achieving strategic autonomy while preserving an open economy. This includes reinforcing the ability to make autonomous choices in the area of cyber security, with the aim to strengthen the EU's digital leadership and strategic capacities.
 
 
"The conclusions note that cyber security is essential for building a resilient, green and digital Europe," said the council in a statement. The strategy specifiaclly calls for a number of importabt new measures:- 
 
  • Creating a joint cyber unit focused on the EU's cybersecurity crisis management framework;
  • Accelerating the uptake of key internet security standards;
  • Developing strong encryption while protecting fundamental rights and supporting law enforcement and judicial authorities;
  • Preventing and countering cyberattacks that might affect supply chains, critical infrastructure and essential services;
  • Establishing a cyber intelligence working group to strengthen the EU's Intelligence and Situation Center, which is responsible for sharing classified information with its member states;
  • Establishing EU external cyber capacity by strengthening cooperation with international organizations and partner countries to increase cyber resilience.
  • The strategy also outlines plans to make international cyberspace "open, free and secure," according to the council.
  • The plan endorses the following measures in an effort to forward the bloc’s cyber leadership:
  • “strong encryption and threat information sharing”
  • “security operation centers across the EU to monitor for attacks”
  • “a joint cyber unit focused on the EU's cybersecurity crisis      management framework”
  • “a security standard for 5G technology”
  • “key internet security standards”
  • “countering cyberattacks that might affect supply chains [and] critical infrastructure”
  • “a cyber intelligence working group to strengthen the EU's Intelligence and Situation Center”
  • “strengthening cooperation with international organizations and partner countries”
 
The Report also stresses the need to "raise more awareness on cyber issues at the political and strategic decision-making levels by providing decision-makers with relevant knowledge and information and the need to enhance the awareness of general public and promote cyber hygiene.” 
 
The conclusions include a strong commitment by the council to swiftly complete the implementation of the EU 5G toolbox measures and to continue efforts to guarantee the security of 5G networks and the development of future network generations.
 
Actions laid out in the conclusions include the creation of a network of security operation centres across the Union to improve both threat detection and anticipation and the possible establishment of a cyber intelligence working group to strengthen the EU Intelligence and Situation Centre (INTCEN). 
 
Another proposed measure is the definition of a joint cyber unit that "would provide clear focus to the EU's cybersecurity crisis management framework."
 
Accelerating the adoption of key Internet security standards is another action point listed in the conclusions. This step, which the council says will require "a joint effort," is described as being "instrumental to increase the overall level of security and openness of the global Internet while increasing the competitiveness of the EU industry." Other actions include addressing the need to support the development of strong encryption as a means of protecting fundamental rights and digital security, while simultaneously ensuring that law enforcement agencies and judicial authorities can exercise the offline and online powers that have been granted to them. 
 
In order to ensure the development, implementation and monitoring of the proposals presented in the cyber security strategy, the Council encourages the Commission and the High Representative to establish a detailed implementation plan. The Council will also monitor the progress in the implementation of the conclusions through an action plan which will be regularly reviewed and updated.
 
EU Council:      GovInfoSecurity:        EU Council:     The CyberWire:          Infosecurity Magazine:
 
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