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Commission launches #Women4Cyber - A registry of talents in the field of cybersecurity

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On 7 July the Commission, together with the Women4Cyber initiative of the European Cybersecurity Organization (ECSO) launched the first online registry of European women in cybersecurity that will connect expert groups, businesses and policy makers to talents in the field.

The registry is an open, user-friendly database of women that have expertise in cybersecurity, aiming to address the growing demand for cybersecurity professionals in Europe and the related shortage of talents in the field. Its launch follows the European Skills Agenda for sustainable competitiveness, social fairness and resilience that the Commission presented on 1 July 2020.

A Europe Fit for the Digital Age Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager said:  “Cybersecurity is everyone's business. Women bring experience, perspectives and values into the development of digital solutions. It is important to both enrich the discussion and make the cyberspace more secure.”

Promoting our European Way of Life Vice President Margaritis Schinas  said: “The cybersecurity field is suffering a massive skills shortage. This talent shortage is exacerbated by the lack of female representation in the field. The updated Skills Agenda adopted by the Commission last week aims to close such gaps. A diverse cybersecurity workforce will certainly contribute to more innovative and robust cybersecurity. The registry launched today will be a useful tool to promote women cybersecurity professionals and create a more diverse and inclusive cybersecurity ecosystem.”

Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said: “Over the years we have been promoting various successful initiatives aimed at increasing training in digital skills, notably in the cybersecurity field. Every cyber team needs to combine various skills combining data science, analytics and communication. The registry is a tool aimed at achieving better gender balance in the cybersecurity workforce.”

The registry, which outlines diverse profiles and maps various areas of expertise, is accessible to everyone and will be updated regularly. More information about the Women4Cyber initiative is available here, about the Commission Cybersecurity strategy here and you can join the Women4Cyber registry by clicking here

Cyber-espionage

EU Threat Landscape Report: Cyber attacks are becoming more sophisticated, targeted and widespread

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On 20 October, the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) published its yearly report summarizing the main cyber threats encountered between 2019 and 2020. The report reveals that the attacks are continuously expanding by becoming more sophisticated, targeted, widespread and often undetected, while for the majority of them the motivation is financial. There is also an increase of phishing, spam and targeted attacks in the social media platforms. During the coronavirus pandemic, the cybersecurity of health services was challenged, while the adoption of teleworking regimes, distance learning, interpersonal communication, and teleconferencing also changed the cyberspace.

The EU is taking strong action to strengthen cybersecurity capacities: It will update legislation in the area of cybersecurity, with a new Cybersecurity Strategy coming up by the end of 2020, and is investing in cybersecurity research and capacity building, as well as in raising awareness about new cyber threats and trends, such as through the annual Cybersecurity Month campaign. The ENISA Threat Landscape Report is available here and a press release is available here.

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Cyber-espionage

EU countries test their ability to co-operate in the event of cyber attacks

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EU member states, the EU Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) and the European Commission have met to test and assess their co-operation capabilities and resilience in the event of a cybersecurity crisis. The exercise, organized by the Netherlands with the support of ENISA, is a key milestone towards the completion of  relevant operating procedures. The latter are developed in the framework of the NIS Co-operation Group, under the leadership of France and Italy, and aim for more coordinated information sharing and incident response among EU cybersecurity authorities.

Furthermore, member states, with the support of ENISA, launched today the Cyber Crisis Liaison Organization Network (CyCLONe) aimed at facilitating cooperation in case of disruptive cyber incidents.

Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said: “The new Cyber Crisis Liaison Organization Network indicates once again an excellent cooperation between the member states and the EU institutions in ensuring that our networks and critical systems are cyber secure. Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility and we should work collectively in preparing and implementing rapid emergency response plans, for example in case of a large-scale cyber incident or crisis.”

ENISA Executive Director Juhan Lepassaar added: "Cyber crises have no borders. The EU Agency for Cybersecurity is committed to support the Union in its response to cyber incidents. It is important that the national cybersecurity agencies come together to coordinate decision-making at all levels. The CyCLONe group addresses this missing link.”

The CyCLONe Network will ensure that information flows more efficiently among different cybersecurity structures in the member states and will allow to better coordinate national response strategies and impact assessments. Moreover, the exercise organized follows up on the Commission's recommendation on a Coordinated Response to Large Scale Cybersecurity Incidents and Crises (Blueprint) that was adopted in 2017.

More information is available in this ENISA press release. More information on the EU cybersecurity strategy can be found in these Q&A and this brochure.

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#EU Cybersecurity: Commission launches public consultation on the NIS directive

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The Commission launched a public consultation on the revision of the Directive on security of network and information systems (the NIS Directive). Since the current Directive entered into force in 2016, the cyber-threat landscape has been evolving quickly. The Commission now plans to kick-start the procedure for the revision of the NIS Directive, starting with a public consultation that aims to collect views on its implementation and on the impact of potential future changes.

A Europe Fit for the Digital Age Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager said: “As our daily lives and economies become increasingly dependent on digital solutions, we need a culture of state of the art security across vital sectors that rely on information and communication technologies.”

Promoting our European Way of Life Vice-President Margaritis Schinas said: “The review of the Network and Information Systems Directive is an integral part of our forthcoming EU Security Union Strategy that will provide an EU co-ordinated and horizontal approach to security challenges”.

Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton, said: “The coronavirus crisis has highlighted how important it is to ensure the resilience of our network infrastructure, in particular in sensitive sectors such as health. This consultation is an opportunity for stakeholders to inform the Commission on the state of the cybersecurity preparedness of companies and organisations and to propose ways to further improve it.”

Since its adoption, the NIS Directive has ensured that member states are better prepared for cyber incidents and have increased their cooperation through the NIS Co-operation Group. It obliges companies that provide essential services in vital sectors, namely in energy, transport, banking, financial market infrastructures, health, water supply and distribution and digital infrastructure, as well key digital service providers, such as search engines, cloud computing services or online marketplaces, to protect their information technology systems and report major cybersecurity incidents to the national authorities.

The consultation, which will be open until 2 October 2020, seeks opinions and experiences from all interested stakeholders and citizens. More information about the EU's actions to strengthen cybersecurity capacities is available here and in these questions & answers, and more information about the work of NIS Co-operation Group is here.

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