Digital Agenda: Major banks, telecoms companies and governments join forces in EU-wide cyberattack exercise

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Hundreds of cyber security experts from across the EU are testing their readiness to combat cyber-attacks in a day-long simulation across Europe today. In Cyber Europe 2012, 400 experts from major financial institutions, telecoms companies, internet service providers and local and national governments across Europe are facing more than 1200 separate cyber incidents (including more than 30 000 emails) during a simulated distributed denial of service (DDoS) campaign. The exercise is testing how they would respond and co-operate in the event of sustained attacks against the public websites and computer systems of major European banks. If real, such an attack would cause massive disruption for millions of citizens and businesses across Europe, and millions of euros of damage to the EU economy.

European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes said: “This is the first time banks and internet companies have been part of an EU-wide cyber-attack exercise. This cooperation is essential given the growing scale and sophistication of cyber-attacks. Working together at European level to keep the internet and other essential infrastructures running is what today’s exercise is all about.”

Cyber incidents are becoming more frequent. In 2011, web-based attacks increased by 36%. A four-fold increase in companies reporting security incidents with a financial impact was reported between 2007 and 2010 (rising from 5% in 2007 to 20% in 2010).

In the next decade World Economic Forum experts estimate a 10% risk of a major Critical Information Infrastructure incident causing €200 billion in economic damage. Here to read more.

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  1. Issues around major digital security breaches and cyber theft are real and critical. But is the focus on preventing such incidents impacting on internet regulation and legislation as a whole? As a digital content governance consultant in the UK I am increasingly preoccupied by the pace and scope of new bills, white papers, EU regulation etc and the implications for commerce and legal forms of digital content handling. In terms of content rights, I believe there is too much emphasis on expanding the scope of traditional (print based) rights protection rather than exploring new and inventive ways of owning and assigning content online.

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