Thursday

3rd Dec 2020

EU seeks US help to fight cyber criminals

  • Lute: 'Homeland security is to create a safe, secure, resilient place where the American way of life can thrive' (Photo: chiara marra)

The EU wants to work closer with the United States' department of Homeland Security and the FBI to help plug gaps on protection against cyber crime - a sector worth €388 billion a year in illegal revenue worldwide.

"To overcome this growing global threat, EU-US cooperation is not a choice, but a necessity," EU home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told US officials and policy experts at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington on Wednesday (2 May).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"I am convinced that in the coming months and years we will be able to report back to our citizens on many more successful joint operations between FBI and Europol," she added, citing an EU-US working group, launched in November 2010, on cyber-security and cyber crime as an example.

The working group is headed by Malmstrom and includes the US secretary of homeland security Janet Napolitano. Both intend to launch an EU-US cyber exercise in 2014.

The commission had already announced its intention to establish a new cyber crime centre in Europol, in The Hague, early next year. The centre will be tasked to address online child exploitation and attacks against government infrastructure. But Malmstrom added that the cyber centre would also help member states lagging in cyber security to improve abilities.

She added, separately, that Interpol is in the planning stages of creating its own cyber crime facility in Singapore.

Meanwhile, the commission is updating its 2010 directive on attacks against information systems. The proposals seek to criminalise the use, production and sale of tools - also know as botnets - used to commit attacks against information systems. The European Parliament and member states are currently debating the proposals.

"We hope to agree on a proposal before the summer to bring EU legislation up to date, including measures to address the rising threat from botnets," Malmstrom said.

The EU is pressing countries to ratify the Council of Europe's Budapest Convention, she explained. The convention is a 2004 international treaty that aims to create a common criminal policy against cyber-villains. But the Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, Poland and Sweden have yet to sign up.

The Budapest convention, along with input from foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, is to help shape an EU joint-strategy on cyber crime by the end of year. The strategy requires an EU approach and cannot rely solely on individual member states, the commission said in April.

Speaking alongside Malmstrom, the deputy secretary of the US department of homeland security Jane Holl Lute described the EU as its most important partner on cyber crime.

Lute said the US strategy for cyber security entails protecting its economy, its networks, expanding its law enforcement capacity and getting governments involved in so-called global Internet governance.

"Cyberspace is the endoskeleton of modern life," said Lute, who sees the role of homeland security as a balance between those who want no government involvement in the Internet and those who want the government to enforce strict legislation.

"Homeland security is to create a safe, secure, resilient place where the American way of life can thrive," she added.

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 to set up anti-cyber-crime centre

Last year, worldwide profits generated from cybercrime outstripped the global trade in marijuana, cocaine and heroin - combined.

EU law needed to protect free press, NGOs say

More than 60 NGOs and media, including EUobserver, have signed a call for an EU-wide law to stop the rich and powerful from silencing critics with malicious litigation.

News in Brief

  1. Greek island to get new EU-backed migration camp
  2. Valéry Giscard d'Estaing dies from Covid-19 complications
  3. Belgium denied residency permits to 15,000 EU nationals
  4. Centre-right EU lawmakers want to kick out Fidesz MEP
  5. Slovak journalist's killer gets longer sentence
  6. Egyptian leader embarks on 'execution spree'
  7. Covid-19: UK first to approve Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
  8. Car kills five people in German town's pedestrian zone

Opinion

Rule-of-law deal: major step for Europe of values

At the very moment when an incumbent president across the Atlantic was carrying out staggering attacks on the foundations of democracy, the European Parliament obtained a historic agreement to protect the rule of law in Europe.

EU to target migrant integration and encrypted apps

Migrants ought to learn EU languages and "integrate" their children, while encrypted messaging apps should give keys to authorities to combat terrorism, EU ministers are preparing to say.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersReport: The prevalence of men who use internet forums characterised by misogyny
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!
  3. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersUN Secretary General to meet with Nordic Council on COVID-19
  5. UNESDAWell-designed Deposit Return Schemes can help reach Single-Use Plastics Directive targets
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja

Latest News

  1. EU keen to repair damage of Trump years
  2. Szájer 'sex party' coverage shows Orbán's media control
  3. EU Commission mulls ways round Hungary-Poland block
  4. Revealed: Hit to EU mental health services during Covid-19
  5. MEPs seek parliament inquiry into Frontex
  6. Erdoğan to face human rights scrutiny next week, EU says
  7. 2020 Prague European Summit: 'Real solutions, acting together'
  8. Nationwide protests reveal awakening of Poland's youth

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us