Saturday

4th Feb 2023

Cyber attack on French TV finds EU unprepared

  • The attack by the so-called CyberCaliphate disrupted all TV5 Monde channels and websites.

An attack on French TV channel TV5 Monde on Wednesday (8 April) highlighted Europe’s vulnerability to high-tech cyber criminality.

Hackers claiming to belong to the so-called CyberCaliphate, which pledges allegiance to Islamic State, took control of TV5 Monde’s channels worldwide, as well as its website and social media accounts.

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

  • The EU commission will present the new European agenda on security on 28 April (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

Jihadist messages were published on its website and Facebook page. The channel had to suspend these pages and stop broadcasting for about 24 hours.

"These attacks were simultaneous, co-ordinated, inevitably prepared for weeks," said TV5 Monde chief Yves Bigot on French TV.

The hackers’ goal "was maybe to broadcast their message also on our channels and not only on our social networks and websites," he added.

The CyberCaliphate already hacked the US military Central Command’s and Newsweek magazine’s Twitter accounts in January and February.



The attack against TV5 Monde was more ambitious and signals a new level of threat to Western media as well as civilian and military networks.

The French national agency for the security of information systems also reported more than 1,500 cyber attacks against local administrations and small companies websites in the wake of the January attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

All attacks were perpetrated by groups claiming to act "in defense of Muslims" or for the Palestinian cause.

Limited EU powers

The conventional and digital assaults have highlighted the limited powers of the EU in the face of well-organised non-state militants.

"The EU can provide expertise and support," said a European Commission spokesperson on Friday (10 April), while adding that the bulk responsibility to protect EU nationals lies with member states.

Efforts for a common cyber security policy are only halfway through.

The EU established the European Network and Information Security Agency (Enisa) in 2004 to help EU countries to develop cyber-defence infrastructures. It also funds expert meetings and information exchange.

"We have much progress to do, but we do not start from zero," said the commission spokesperson.

Cyber security strategy

A cyber security strategy, as well as a directive on network and information security (NIS), were presented by the commission in 2013.

The aim of the legislation is to secure key EU networks, like transport, energy, financial or healthcare networks, and achieve cyber resilience and a "common high level of security".


EU countries would be required to provide national NIS strategies and set up agencies to facilitate cross-border cooperation at EU level.

Internet operators, for their part, would have to report "serious incidents".

The commission would like the directive to enter into force next September, but it is still being discussed by EU member states, commission and parliament. A new meeting is planned on 30 April.

At an EU parliament hearing in March, the Enisa chief, Udo Helmbrecht, criticised the slow progress in the legislation and warned of a cyber "Wild West".

The EU commission will also present a new European agenda on security on 28 April and its strategy for a digital single market agenda in May.

EU cyber directive 'nearly finished'

The EU executive will release a draft directive on cyber security in 2013, in the latest indication that the bloc is moving towards a harmonised online rulebook.

Opinion

Cyber space needs stronger rule of law

Even cyber warfare should be bound by conventions, for instance, not to attack hospitals, the Dutch foreign minister and the EU foreign policy chief say.

Latest News

  1. Greece faces possible court over 'prison-like' EU-funded migration centres
  2. How the centre-right can take on hard-right and win big in 2024
  3. Top EU officials show Ukraine solidarity on risky trip
  4. MEPs launch anonymous drop-box for shady lobbying secrets
  5. Hawkish ECB rate-rise 'puts energy transition at risk'
  6. MEPs push for greater powers for workers' councils
  7. How Pavel won big as new Czech president — and why it matters
  8. French official to take on Islamophobia in EU

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Party of the European LeftJOB ALERT - Seeking a Communications Manager (FT) for our Brussels office!
  2. European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual & Reproductive Rights (EPF)Launch of the EPF Contraception Policy Atlas Europe 2023. 8th February. Register now.
  3. Europan Patent OfficeHydrogen patents for a clean energy future: A global trend analysis of innovation along hydrogen value chains
  4. Forum EuropeConnecting the World from the Skies calls for global cooperation in NTN rollout
  5. EFBWWCouncil issues disappointing position ignoring the threats posed by asbestos
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersLarge Nordic youth delegation at COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  3. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  4. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  5. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  6. European Committee of the RegionsRe-Watch EURegions Week 2022

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us