The European Commission on Thursday launched a new cyber-security plan,
aimed at safeguarding vital information systems and bolstering the
bloc's defences against a growing criminal threat.
The plan calls on
member states to set up specialised agencies to ensure the security of
information networks and rapid intervention units to counter any cyber
These bodies should cooperate to improve the resilience of
information systems, on which all aspects of life increasingly depend,
and bolster overall defences against crime.
To highlight the scale
of the problem, the Commission cited World Economic Forum research
estimating there is a 10 percent chance of a major critical information
infrastructure breakdown in the coming decade, which could cost $250
Cyber-crime meanwhile costs even more, with security firm
Symantec saying victims worldwide lose around 290 euros billion each
"The more people rely on the Internet the more people rely
on it to be secure. A secure Internet protects our freedoms and rights
and our ability to do business. It's time to take coordinated action,"
said Neelie Kroes, EU Commissioner in charge of the bloc's Digital
EU foreign affairs head Catherine Ashton highlighted the importance of cyber-security to the bloc's wider political aims.
cyberspace to remain open and free, the same norms, principles and
values that the EU upholds offline, should also apply online.
Fundamental rights, democracy and the rule of law need to be protected
in cyber-space," Ashton said.
Last week, Twitter said it was hit by
a "sophisticated" cyber-attack similar to those that recently hit major
Western news outlets and that the passwords of about 250,000 users were
"This attack was not the work of amateurs and we do not
believe it was an isolated incident," Twitter information security
director Bob Lord said in a blog post.
The attack coincided with
the revelation of several high-profile security breaches as The New York
Times and The Wall Street Journal said they too had been hacked,
pointing to attackers from China.
Last month, the US Department of
Defense reportedly approved a five-fold expansion of its cyber-security
force to defend critical computer networks.