NATO, EU And US Plan Action Against Cyber-crime

European countries are to form their own Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) to fight Internet threats

The European Union, United States and NATO have been meeting to discuss how to tackle crime and terrorism on the Internet.

The European Commission has announced proposals to deliver security measures to protect citizens and businesses on the web. The defence plans to counter cyber-crime and cyber-terrorism were developed at a meeting of European Union, United States and NATO officials.

Three-phase Plan To Foil Attackers

The conference was held following military-style exercises held independently by the US and the EU involving government and business participants in cyber-defence scenarios. The wargames involved detecting, tracking and neutralising simulated major web-based attacks.

The result is a three-pronged pre-emptive strategy which will be rolled out over the next three years under the auspices of the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA). The announcement formalises work that ENISA has been bringing together over the past year.

The core feature is the formation of a cyber-crime centre that will act as a hub to co-ordinate the actions of response teams in each of the member countries of the EU and international partners, such as the US. This will be established by 2013, the Commission said.

In the same timescale, an information-sharing system will alert rapid response teams, intelligence departments and police forces to any rising threats so that early countermeasures can swing into action.

The third measure is the formation of these teams on the lines of the US Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs). Each member country will establish its own CERT by 2012.

The news will be welcomed by armed forces minister Nick Harvey who, earlier this month, called for the UK to have a cyberdefence team.

Last weekend in Lisbon, Portugal, a meeting was held between European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso  and European Council president Herman Van Rompuy with US president Barack Obama. Following their two-hour discussion, they issued a statement announcing the setting up of a working group on cybersecurity which will table a report next year.

Fielding press questions about the working group, US envoy to the EU William Kennard said that the agreement builds on work that is already underway but, unlike the NATO measures to counter cyber-attacks, the cybersecurity group will focus on commercial issues and the potential threats to consumers.