Monday

22nd May 2017

Focus

UK cyber-security expert joins international calls for online regulation

UK cyber security advisor Pauline Neville-Jones has joined calls by experts for governments to beef up their cyber security networks.

In a speech to the Global Strategy Forum, the former defence minister described the UK’s cyber security base as “wholly inadequate”, adding that governments needed to increase public and business awareness of cyber threats.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • A chorus of international cyber experts are urging international reform on cyber security (Photo: *n3wjack's world in pixels)

“There is a vast swathe of corporates who have valuable intellectual property, much more valuable than they understand, which is inadequately protected”, she said, adding that “level of awareness is nothing like it needs to be”.

Dame Neville Jones speech follows last week’s publication “Cyber-security: the vexed question of global rules”, by Brussels think-tank Security and Defence Agenda (SDA), featuring “country-by-country stress tests” on 23 major countries, as well as the United Nations, NATO and the EU, based on methodology devised by former US Defence official Robert Lentz.

Echoing the views of Dame Neville-Jones, Evangelos Ouzounis, expert at ENISA, the European agency responsible for information security, also called for the creation of a ‘pan-European curriculum for cyber-security’. “There’s a big gap between what the market needs and what universities produce….most universities don’t produce cyber-security professionals but computer scientists with little specialisation in security”, he said.

According to the report’s authors, who include senior NATO official Jamie Shea, Israel, Finland and Sweden are among the countries most capable of withstanding cyber-attacks to their computer network.

Despite this, against the backdrop of fragmented regulatory standards, cyber experts spoke of the need for common rules to regulate online information flows amidst concerns that the world has embarked on an unregulated data revolution.

Phyllis Schneck of web security firm McAfee said that industry needed to “destroy the profit element (of cyber crime) by improving control over malicious instructions.

“Swimming pools have chemical filters. Networks and computers need intelligence filters”, she added.

A popular demand of experts was for an international agreement making countries responsible for their own sovereign cyber-space and for blocking infected computers in their jurisdiction from the Internet.

According to Lars Nicander, Director of Cyber-Security at the Swedish National Defence College, Israel, China and Russia are “the most consistently offensive countries” in cyber-attacks. Indeed, many of the 250 senior security practitioners surveyed called on Western governments to seek a multi-lateral cyber security policy with China and Russia, with BP Director John Meakin saying “by incentivising these countries to gradually change, we may gradually reduce the number of attacks.”

However, there is little scope for international regulation. Indeed, although some, including Hamadoun Toure, Secretary General of the UN’s International Telecommunications Union, want to agree a ‘cyber peace treaty’, the SDA report states that “there is little agreement between experts and national authorities on terminology, and without that the prospects for regulating cyber-space are poor.”

Policy on cyber-security is currently handled by Member States, although the EU institutions are working on an inter-institutional cyber emergency response unit. Last November the EU held its first joint cyber exercise with the US and this year will see Member States produce their first annual reports to ENISA on cyber security incidents.

According to Freddy Dezure, who heads up the fledgling unit, the intention is not to create extra regulation but to “become the glue, the catalyst to initiate new systems and foster information exchange.”

However, while worldwide agreement seems unlikely, the Commission wants to address the disparity in online security between Member States. In its e-commerce communication last month, the Commission promised to outline an internet security strategy to increase protection against cyber attacks in 2012.

Kroes demands internet security strategy

EU Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes Tuesday reiterated her call for an EU-wide internet security strategy, arguing that EU authorities have not done enough to establish defence mechanisms to prevent cyber attacks.

EU police warn of new-model jihad threat

The EU's joint police body, Europol has noted there were no succesful Islamist attacks in Europe last year, while warning about future Toulouse-type 'lone wolves.'

Portugal held up as symbol of EU recovery

Portugal to sail out of troubled waters after eight years of financial crisis, EU commission predicted, amid broad but "fragile" recovery in European economy.

EU wary over Ukrainian weapons in South Sudan

Ukraine, which had signed an EU arms embargo on South Sudan, has since sold attack helicopters used by the government forces in Juba against civilians and hospitals.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  2. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  3. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  4. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  5. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  6. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  7. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  8. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Cost of Speaking Out: Human Rights Violations Committed in Belarus
  10. ACCABanishing Bias? Audit, Objectivity and the Value of Professional Scepticism
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Oslo Climate Declaration Focuses on Rising Temperatures in the Arctic
  12. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceAbdominal Obesity: A Causal Risk Factor for Cardiometabolic Diseases