Monday

23rd Jan 2017

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).

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.

"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.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Caritas EuropaEU States to Join Pope Francis’s Appeal to Care for Migrant Children
  2. UNICEFNumber of Unaccompanied Children Arriving by sea to Italy Doubles in 2016
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers"Nordic Matters" Help Forge Closer Bonds Between the UK and the Nordic Region
  4. Computers, Privacy & Data ProtectionThe age of Intelligent Machines: join the Conference on 25-27 January 2017
  5. Martens CentreNo Better way to Lift Your Monday Blues Than to Gloss Over our Political Cartoons
  6. Dialogue PlatformThe Gulen Movement: An Islamic Response to Terror as a Global Challenge
  7. European Free AllianceMinority Rights and Autonomy are a European Normality
  8. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Create EU Competitiveness Post-Brexit? Seminar on January 24th
  9. European Jewish CongressSchulz to be Awarded the European Medal for Tolerance for his Stand Against Populism
  10. Nordic Council of Ministers"Adventures in Moominland" Kick Off Nordic Matters Festival in London
  11. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhDs Across Europe on the Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU - Apply Now!
  12. Dialogue PlatformInterview: Fethullah Gulen Condemns Assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey