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EU prepares to set up Computer Emergency Response Team

Warwick Ashford

The EU has set up a team to establish a Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) to counter the threat of cyber attacks against EU institutions, bodies and agencies.

The preparatory team of IT security experts from the EU institutions, including ENISA, will be given a year before the conditions for establishing a full-scale CERT for the EU institutions are finalised.

In recent years, CERTs have been developed in both private and public sectors to respond to information security incidents and cyber threats around the clock.

The European Commission made the commitment to set up a CERT for EU institutions in the Digital Agenda for Europe adopted in May 2010 as part of the EU's commitment to a reinforced and high-level EU Networking and Information Security Policy in Europe.

In August 2010, the EC asked four cybersecurity experts to make recommendations on how to set up such a CERT. Their report was finalised in November 2010.

The Digital Agenda also calls on all member states to establish their own CERTs, paving the way to an EU-wide network of national and governmental Computer Emergency Response Teams by 2012.

Neelie Kroes, vice-president of the EC for the Digital Agenda, said whether carried out against individual countries, companies or most recently against the EC, cyber attacks can paralyse key infrastructure and cause huge long-term damage.

"Setting up this CERT pre-configuration team is a further demonstration of how seriously the EU Institutions take the cybersecurity threat," she said.

The pre-configuration team will operate in close cooperation with the IT security teams in the respective EU Institutions and liaise with the community of CERTs in the member states and elsewhere, exchanging information on threats and how to handle them.


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