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EU Could Force Banks And Other Critical Industries To Report Cyber-Attacks

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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EU proposals could force 42,000 companies to reveal details of cyber-attacks

A new EU law could require businesses deemed to be vital to the economy to report all cyber-attacks to a national authority – confirming a report in TechWeekEurope last month.

The proposals would affect a number of critical industries, such as banks and airports, with up to 42,000 firms affected. This includes 15,000 transport companies, 8,000 banks, 4,000 energy companies and 15,000 hospitals. Companies with fewer than ten employees will not be affected.

All 27 current EU member states would have to appoint a national authority responsible for implementing the proposals and would also have to set up a computer emergency response team to handle security incidents.

EU cyber-attack law

EU, Europe © Virginija Valatkiene Shutterstock 2012The law could set a global precedent for safeguarding critical infrastructure against cybercrime, but businesses have warned that they would face additional costs and have argued that the regulations are too vague.

They also fear that being forced to reveal details of any cyber attack could damage their reputation. It recently emerged that Coca-Cola had kept quiet about serious attacks for just this reason. It will be up to the appointed national authority to decide whether it is in the public interest to make the information common knowledge.

The national authorities will have the freedom to decide whether or not to punish companies who fail to report a cyber-attack, but the EU is keen to stress that the legislation is not designed to criminalise the victimes of such incidents.

The rules apply to attacks on networks, but the EU also wants to force users to report accidental breaches involving customer data, as part of its data protection legislation. Our readers spoke out in support of mandatory data breach reporting in recent TechweekEurope poll, with nearly 84 percent saying organisations should be required to report breaches by law.

A recent resolution calling for the EU to update the European Security Strategy claimed that cyber-attacks against governmental information systems in Europe “caused considerable economic and security damage, the extent of which has not been adequately assessed.”

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