ENISA report calls on European member states to improve cyber-security measures
ENISA, the European Network and Information Security Agency, has called on European Union (EU) member states to improve their protection against potential attacks on Industrial Control Systems (ICS) and to work closer together to prevent cyber attacks.
The findings are published in a study of European ICS security, which includes seven recommendations for European countries.
ICS are command and control networks and systems which are designed to support industrial processes such as gas and electricity distribution, water, oil refining and railway transportation. Their importance has resulted in them being a prime target for potential cyber attackers and terrorists.
ENISA’s recommendations include the creation of national and pan-European ICS security strategies, the publication of a good practice guide on ICS security, increased research activities, the establishment of a common test bed and IC computer emergency response capabilities.
The European Commission (EC) has long called for its members to do more to prepare for cyber attacks and earlier this year proposed a number of measures. These included the creation of a European cyber-incident contingency plan by 2012, the organisation of regular national and pan-European cyber incident exercises and strategic partnerships with non-EU countries, especially the US.
The EU and USA held a joint-operation last month which used simulated cyber-crisis scenarios to see how the two bodies would engage in the event of a cyber attack on critical information infrastructures.
The threat of attacks on ICS and Supervisory Control And Data Acquisitions (SCADA) systems has increased in recent years, causing many governments to be more wary of such attacks.
Earlier this month, the FBI disclosed that cyber attackers had accessed the critical infrastructure of three cities in the US by compromising the industrial control systems.
The threat of espionage also has governments worried. Stuxnet, one of the most sophisticated pieces of malware ever seen, was believed to have targeted Iran’s uranium enrichment programme, apparently setting the operation back by years.
Stuxnet’s level of complexity led many to suggest that it was created by a nation state and earlier this year a new piece of malware, Duqu, was so similar Stuxnet, that it was believed that the creator must have had access to the source code, causing it to be dubbed “Stuxnet 2.0”