So pressing is the cyber threat to critical national infrastructures that the EU has proposed a Joint Cyber Unit, designed to help EU nations prevent, mitigate and respond to large-scale cyber incidents.
The unit’s purpose is to raise awareness, coordinate responses and guarantee preparedness to deal with cyber security crises. This includes rapid response teams.
The unit was initially proposed in 2019 and will be formed over the next two years. The final phase, involving private sector partners, to be complete by June 2023. Cooperation will be around four main areas: Resilience, Law Enforcement, Diplomacy and Defence.
There are challenges in coordinating an EU response when an attack may involve multiple nations, all with differing national security needs and approaches. It is unclear the role the UK and GCHQ will play due to Brexit.
Coordinating a network of defences makes sense in light of multiple attacks on schools, cities, hospitals and other national infrastructure. America’s Department of Justice setup a similar task force specialising in ransomware and digital extortion.
Security experts have welcomed the initiative but remind people that it is a sign that criminals are not going away and we all need to prepare for the worst and raise our defences.
Image from EU website.