EU launches network security campaign

Europe remains woefully unaware of the security risks to computer networks, the European Commission said Wednesday as it unveiled a new awareness campaign called IT Security for Europe.

Companies, individuals and public authorities spend too little on securing their computers and networks, the Commission said in a statement. About 5 percent to 13 percent of IT expenditure is spent on security, “which is alarmingly low,” the Commission said.

“The nature of the threat is changing and so must our response,” Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding said in the statement.

In the past, hackers were motivated by a desire to show off whereas today, many threats come from criminal activities and are motivated by profit. What we need is a renewed strategy based on dialogue, partnership and empowerment,” she said.

The Commission wants to compare national policies on network and information security to improve the dialogue among public authorities across the E.U., to identify best practices and to raise the security awareness of end users.

ENISA, the European Network and Information Security Agency in Heraklion, Greece, will be entrusted to develop a data collection plan to handle security incidents and measure levels of consumer confidence from all over Europe. ENISA will also be asked to examine the feasibility of a multilingual information sharing and alert system.

In addition, the Commission invited companies and national governments to play a more proactive and energetic role in enhancing network and information security.

Separately, the Commission is carrying out a public consultation on the security and privacy implications of RFID (radio frequency identification) and will present its conclusions later in the year.