Europe “needs to be far more ambitious” in the cyber security threat field.
Speaking at the ENISA (EU’s Agency for network and information security) event in Brussels to mark the first day of the global Cyber Security Awareness Month, Neelie Kroes, vice president of the European Commission and commissioner for the Digital Agenda, Kroes said that both the public and private sectors need to improve, saying that we cannot wait for “something to happen which could potentially have an enormous impact on Europe’s critical infrastructures”.
Kroes said: “We are aware that we should protect ourselves, and equip ourselves. But do we know where to begin? Sometimes people just see security solutions as a restriction, a limitation, an extra cost. But quite the opposite: they are not a cost, but an enabler. It can enable competitive advantage.
“We need to step up our ambitions. It is about time that within Europe we say that we – proactively – are going to deal with cyber threats.”
Kroes said that three things need to be considered: a need to make online security the “new normal”; secondly create a strong sector to supply security solutions; and thirdly do not panic about new threats, but equally do not sleepwalk into a new kind of future.
These three things require ENISA, she said, but she also called for operational cooperation to help us stay secure.
“I hope our new Directive will give us the foundation we need,” Kroes said. “But what about a fully-fledged mechanism to deal with cyber threats? That will take time. But in ten years from now, I expect that member states will engage with each other across the board; including on sensitive matters, for a true EU level capability.
“ENISA should help us strengthen our defences when it matters most. What about the millions of smaller businesses in Europe? They are the backbone of our economy; but also its weak ankles, when it comes to security. ENISA can be the strategic partner to strengthen the value chain for them.
“Europe’s Member States should take the full responsibility in making the Digital Single Market a safe and secure zone to do business. Looking at the fast changing cyber-landscape and the fact that cyber-threats are becoming more and more sophisticated, this is the moment to act pro-actively. This is the moment to act in a united way.”
She concluded by admitting that “we are not there yet” and “getting there will take a sustained effort and active ambition”.