EU to set up cyber crime centre

The European Commission (EC) is proposing a European Cybercrime Centre in efforts to tackle rising levels of online crime across Europe

The European Commission is set to propose a European Cybercrime Centre on 28 March as part of efforts to tackle rising levels of online crime across Europe.

The proposed agency, which is expected to open in 2013, will also be responsible for training national experts on cyber crime and form part of the EU police agency Europol, say reports.

The cyber crime centre will co-ordinate national cyber authorities established by member states, and collect information gathered by national and European police IT networks.

The EC first raised the idea of the cyber crime centre in its 2010 Internal Security Strategy.

The plan shows a serious intent to fight back against cyber crime, said Joseph Souren, a leading member of the Trusted Computing Group for open industry standards in IT.

“Co-ordinated efforts, led by units such as the EU Cybercrime Centre, will help to map the extent of online criminal activity as well as advocate more robust IT defences," said Souren, who is also vice-president and general manager for Wave Systems in Europe.

MEPs and member states are currently finalising a directive on attacks against computer networks. The directive will criminalise the sale, production and use of botnets, networks of infected computers that can be remotely controlled to launch large-scale coordinated cyber attacks.

"These elements are part of the ongoing strategy against cyber crime, but unless organisations adopt more effective network security policies, this will be a losing battle," said Souren.

Both the UK and US governments advocate the adoption of Trusted Computing open industry standards, which provide a fluid path to future security needs and start by securing the device that will connect to an IT network, he said.

“This means that enterprises and public sector bodies can, with relative ease, adopt proven, trusted and open industry standards and roll out a programme that ensures every device is protected by the Trusted Platform Module (TPM), and that the data is secured by the use of self-encrypting drives (SEDs)," said Souren.

EU Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes this month announced plans by the EC to present a European internet security strategy in the third quarter of 2012, that will focus on cooperation between member states and the private sector.

Kroes wants better cyber oversight. She said the obligation to notify security breaches to government, which currently applies to telecoms companies, should be extended to companies in the energy, water, finance and transport sectors.

She pointed out that the recent World Economic Forum estimated a one in 10 chance of a major breakdown of critical information infrastructure in the next decade.

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