European Commission Battles Over Cybersecurity

By Liam Burrows

BRUSSELS (UN Press Corps) - In the past year, cyber attacks and acts of cyber terrorism have increased dramatically, posing a significant threat to global economic and political stability. As a result, the European Commission is scrambling to ensure its cybersecurity. Attackers are increasingly targeting non-profit organizations, leaking sensitive information and data. According to Mazars Ledger, these kinds of information leaks include, but are not limited to, “credit card information, employee’s payroll and personal information, health insurance information”

The Delegate of Latvia has spearheaded a working paper (co-sponsored by Austia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark Estonia, Germany Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Romania, Portugal, Spain, UK) that creates a “White hat hackers program” in an effort to solve cybersecurity problems.

These “White hat hackers” would start at a much earlier age as opposed to the current age. Currently, people only become “White hat hackers”  after the age of 18, however, the program would enforce the creation of “White hat hackers” much earlier than they are now by integrating more advanced computer science courses in middle school. “Defining “White cap” hackers would be educated students in computer science and programming, who have successfully passed an EU guided test and have never intentionally committed a cybersecurity attack”. These ‘White hat hackers’ would expose flaws within the government systems by testing their security monthly and hack into “various company databases and websites in order to utilize the information and create a ranking list on the security of popular sites and/or corporations. According to the first working paper, there is a proposition for the creation of the CRI which is a ranking system intended to test the security of private corporations.”

Furthermore, the third operative clause creates the “European Education Initiative” which focuses on promoting and raising awareness about the problem of cybersecurity by running social media ads, increasing the funding for computer science programs, working with universities to create classes on cybersecurity and promoting careers in computer science.

In addition to the implementation of “White hat hackers”, the paper proposes the creation of a punishment system that outlines a code of conduct and the consequences for cyber crimes.Class one; uing cyber attacks to coerce individuals and companies into payment (ransomware). Class two; selling top secret or illegally obtaining highly sensitive information. Class three; creating and distributing malware and performing DDOS attacks on any personnel. Class four; fraudulent and phishing scams, and pharming.

The opposing working paper supported by Denmark, Austria, Malta, Greece, Cyprus, and the Netherlands explores the Netherlands (sponsored by UK, Germany, Luxembourg) National Cyber Security Centrum (NCSC) as a model for their proposition to create a “Cyber Response Team” (CRT) to “combat any cyber security and related issues that may arise.” The CRT would be a fast acting response team that would alert the victims and try to resolve these issues within 24 hours.

Overall, the first working paper focuses on the increase of “White hat hackers” as a means to prevent cybersecurity and to test the government’s security on a more frequent basis to ensure safety. Additionally, through a greater emphasis on integration for more advanced computer technology courses within high school, students are educated at a younger age about cybersecurity This paper contrasts with the second paper which is more focused on creating a response team that can act very quickly and effectively on cyber attacks.