The European Commission has extended the term of the European Network and Information Security Agency (Enisa) to 2017 and expanded its role to give it the greater flexibility and capability required to address growing cyberthreats.
Digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes said that greater online security is essential for Europe to become a digital economy.
She said Europe had to be prepared for "the worst". Europe needs to be able to prevent, respond and react to any major disruption of its networks, in particular to cyberattacks, which could cause major economic and social damage, Kroes said.
Enisa has been developing a continent-wide simulation exercise to test responses to attacks against the networks and other critical national infrastructure. It is expected to take place in November.
An Enisa spokesman said no date would be announced to preserve the realism of the exercise. Representatives from Denmark, Finland, France, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Sweden and the UK met Enisa and EU's Joint Research Centre (JRC) on 29 June to finalise plans.
Enisa is also canvassing opinion leaders from the European Commission, European Parliament, and Council as well as major industry representatives, to discuss a policy framework for securing Europe's future information society.
It aims to address how to secure infrastructures, fight cybercrime, promote standardisation, enhance e-privacy and education on ICT security.
Enisa is also helping to set up "digital fire brigades" or computer emergency response teams (Certs) for EU institutions.