Chichester welcomes "beefed up" cyber defences

01-Feb-2013 @ 17:0

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Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

A senior Conservative MEP today welcomed a comprehensive package of improvements to Europe's cyber-security operations, approved during detailed negotiations in Brussels.

Giles Chichester MEP said the measures approved would ultimately make the European Union's governments, businesses, security agencies and citizens safer from the growing menace of cyber attack.

Mr Chichester, Conservative MEP for the South West and Gibraltar,  presided over the negotiations as  Rapporteur of the European Parliament  with  representatives of the Council and Commission . They hammered out a wholesale revision of the mandate for the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA).

The agency has been in operation since 2005 with a budget of €8 million a year, but has been criticised for its modest scope and effectiveness.

Observers have also asserted that the location of its headquarters on the Greek island of Crete has made access difficult and created a perception that it operates on the EU's periphery.
The package agreed this week will create a more accessible ENISA  partly based in Athens and will expand its role in liaising with security organisations in member states and in collecting and disseminating security data.

Mr Chichester, Conservative industry spokesman  in  the parliament, said:  "Cyber crime and cyber terrorism together form one of the greatest threats to our prosperity, security and safety.

"Only today we have heard that the New York Times has come under determined and sustained cyber attack after it ran an investigation exposing the wealth acquired by political leaders in China.

"Both the risks and the threats are evolving continually, and so must our defences.  ENISA can play a key role in the EU's fight but can only be able to do this by having a practical base for its operations. Crete perhaps wasn't the best choice for where to centre Europe's network and security agency but now we have found what looks like a workable solution.

"That is why  we have decided  on the package of these measures to beef up its resources and its role."

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