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European Cyber Security Month

Written by Gregor Erbach,

Cyber Security. Combination padlock in electronic cyberspace. 3D rendered image.

© vitanovski / Fotolia

It is hard these days to imagine (or remember) life without smartphones and computers, without online services helping us with almost every aspect of our daily lives, be that at work – for communication and general productivity – or in our free time – for travel bookings, shopping, banking or entertainment … The list goes on. Meanwhile, more and more everyday objects can now be connected to the internet. Lightbulbs, televisions, refrigerators, vehicles, medical devices and industrial control systems are just a few examples of devices that can be linked up to the ‘internet of things’.

Naturally, these developments offer countless opportunities for new services and business models in the digital single market. However, at the same time they also represent new ways for cybercriminals and others to steal data, money and identities, spread disinformation, and generally cause serious physical and economic damage. These threats are on the increase, in terms of both scale and impact, and can sometimes affect critical infrastructure and democratic processes, heightening the need for thorough risk analysis and effective protection.

This is the backdrop to European Cyber Security Month, which is run every October by ENISA (the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security) together with the European Commission and other partners. The campaign first took place on a small scale in 2012 and has been growing ever since. It now involves hundreds of activities and events throughout the EU and beyond, with a view to reminding citizens of the risks and threats, raising awareness of how to protect against them, and spreading best practice.

The general message for this October’s European Cyber Security Month was that cyber security is everybody’s responsibility. This message was supported by two main themes: the first was ‘cyber hygiene’, helping the public to get into the good habits necessary to stay safe on line; the second focused on staying safe in the context of new and emerging technology.

Meanwhile, in September 2017, the Commission adopted a cybersecurity package with new initiatives to further improve EU cyber-resilience and prepare for the challenges ahead. More specifically, the co-legislators adopted the Cybersecurity Act in April 2019. This new regulation has given ENISA greater powers and introduced a European cybersecurity certification framework to reassure buyers of digital products and services and improve market access for suppliers. To promote and coordinate European cybersecurity research, the Commission is proposing to set up a cybersecurity competence centre and network. The European Parliament adopted its position on the proposal earlier this year and is now in negotiations with the Council.

So, how is your cyber hygiene? The European Parliament’s IT department put together a special quiz for European Cyber Security Month: why not click on the link and give it a try!

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