Defending Europe against cyber attack

How ENISA helps EU member states with national cyber defences, as well as securing European-wide business networks.

To counter the threat of cyber terrorism and cyber attacks ENISA also worked on the establishment of governmental CERTs (Computer Emergency Response Teams) around Europe or what has been called the "fire squads of the internet."

De Bruin said: "It's not solving the whole resilience problem, but it does give organisations an incident response capability."

In the UK, there are a number of CERT teams from government, academia and the corporate and commercial worlds which meet up regularly in the UKCERT forum to encourage cooperation and information sharing.

CERT organisations also exist in Austria, Holland, Germany and Poland. There was also already a community of CERTs around Europe, and ENISA were particularly well placed to act in bringing them all together.

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ENISA promotes best practice with the CERT community, with advice from about how to set up one as well as with quality assurance. This year it is working with CERTs in creating pilot exercises which could give real-time feedback on how effective the CERTs were working and their capacity for incident response.

"The benefit of CERTs working together is that they can share information," said De Bruin. "They can increase their capability to respond to certain incidents."

Governmental CERTs now exist in the majority of Europe, with ENISA involved in most of them by helping them with best practice and information sharing.

UK and Europe mutually beneficial partnership

ENISA are a small organisation with around 50 people, although it does have experts helping them all around Europe. In the UK the agenda in Europe is not a big priority but fundamentally the sharing of security and IT knowledge can only be a good thing.

An European security awareness campaign can defend nations against the threat of the cyber attack, but also encourage smaller businesses to feel protected against the growing threat of cyber crime. These benefits surely in turn filter to the UK. And isn't it time that the security-aware British share their knowledge to benefit Europe as a whole?

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