EU institutions not well prepared for cyberattacks

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The level of cybersecurity preparedness within the EU varies greatly from one agency to the next. Because the various governing bodies are closely intertwined, the shortcomings at one agency pose a security risk to the other. To do something about this, generally applicable and binding rules are needed.

The European Court of Auditors concludes this on the basis of its own investigation.

These problems have been identified by the European Court of Auditors

The Court of Auditors examined whether European bodies such as the European Commission and European Central Bank are able to withstand cyber attacks. The researchers say that the number of cyber incidents at European institutions has more than increased tenfold between 2018 and 2021. Due to the corona crisis and the fact that we are increasingly working from home or hybrid, the number of potential entry points for attackers – also known as the attack surface – has increased significantly. In the past two years, 22 institutions have been the target of a cyberattack, including the European Medicines Agency EMA.

That in itself is a dangerous observation, but it is not the main conclusion of the European Court of Auditors. This is because the European institutions do not have a joint approach to stand up against hackers and cybercriminals. Because one agency pays less care and attention to cybersecurity, it can cause problems for another. This is because the institutions work closely together. The weakest link then poses a threat to the rest of the chain.

A third problem identified by the European

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