EU wants joint cyber defense to counter Russian hacks

EU wants joint cyber defense to counter Russian hacks

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The European Commission proposed a new EU cyber defense policy Thursday to help national governments better work together to counter cyberattacks from states like Russia.

In a new communication document, the EU executive and its external affairs service are asking governments to set up structures to coordinate cyber defense policies, including an EU Cyber Defense Coordination Center, an EU Cyber Commanders Conference, a network of military Computer Emergency Response Teams (milCERTs) and joint exercises under the banner of a new CyDef-X project.

“The security environment in Europe has changed dramatically,” said Josep Borrell, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs. “We have to adapt our defense policies to this new environment.”

National governments are responsible for their cyber defense, but — just like with its 5G Security Toolbox to protect telecoms networks — the EU is putting its political weight behind efforts to coordinate between national capitals and get experts and officials to work together more closely.

The proposal comes after “an increasing number of actions in cyberspace coming from both states and non-state actors,” said Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s digital chief.

“We’ve seen it with the Russian attack on the Viasat satellite,” she said, referring to an attack on the satellite service provider that happened just hours before the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February. “Obviously one can disrupt military services by attacking civilian infrastructure,” Vestager said.

The cyber defense policy is part of a broader security and defense package that also includes measures to improve Europe’s military mobility.

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