Cecilia Malmström:Stepping up the fight against cybercriminals to secure a free and open Internet

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I am very pleased that together with my colleagues Neelie Kroes and Catherine Ashton, we have established a comprehensive vision of how cyber security challenges should be addressed within the EU and worldwide.

The EU Cyber Security Strategy is a landmark in the fight against the growing criminal activity which takes place online and undermines the confidence of internet users.

Internet is a great invention that facilitates our lives and can be a powerful tool to promote democracy worldwide. But incidents are increasing and at least one million people are victims of some kind of cybercrime every day.

Let me be clear: we have to effectively fight cyber criminals in order to ensure that our citizens can benefit from an open and free Internet.

We will not be able to reap all the potential benefits of the online economy if we cannot protect our citizens and provide them with a safe and secure Internet environment.

Recent surveys show that insecurity is already affecting EU citizens’ behaviour online: three European citizens out of four think that the risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime has increased in the past year and one out of ten has already experienced online fraud. As a consequence, many EU citizens are less likely to buy goods online and to use online banking.

The strategy highlights our concrete actions in order to step up the fight against cybercrime, a growing threat which increases both in frequency and magnitude.

As an example, I just read a report about how you can order cybercrimes, like ”rent a hacker”. You do not even have to know how it works. There are lists including costs for different actions. If you want to hack someone’s Facebook account it costs 130 USD. Hacking mobile phone text messages can even be a lot cheaper.

If we want to be credible in our efforts to fight cybercrime we need better legislation, more resources and better coordination.

We have already made good progress in creating new tools to identify and dismantle criminal networks operating online.

One of my first initiatives as EU Commissioner was to present a legal proposal for clear and harmonised rules to reduce cybercrime; with adequate sanctions in case of major offences. In that respect, the Strategy emphasizes the importance of a quick adoption and implementation of this Directive. Here to read more.

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