Thursday, April 30, 2009

EU: Batten Down the Cyber-Hatches

Via The Economist.

Over the past ten years the European Union has failed to protect the continent’s energy security. Will it do any better when it comes to cyber-security?

At an EU conference on that subject in Tallinn on April 27th, participants wrestled with the need to act and the difficulty of deciding what exactly to do. The location was a suitable one: Estonia is the only EU member state to have suffered a full-scale cyber-attack, in April 2007. Amid a furious row with Russia about the relocation of a Soviet-era war memorial, a flood of bogus internet traffic disabled the country’s main websites, briefly shutting down vital public services and crippling businesses such as online banking.

Yet two years later, the EU and its member states are still wrestling with the issue. Knowing whether such attacks come from pranksters, hooligans, terrorists, criminals or an unfriendly government is difficult—sometimes impossible. But the potential damage is clear: everything from water and electric power to financial industries and retail distribution depends on the internet. The right combination of malicious code, stolen or hacked passwords and a badly designed system could mean catastrophe.

More here.


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