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Europe’s latest cyber defence plans and projects are reason for cautious optimism, according to a panel of cyber experts gathered in Brussels on 6 November 2018 for ‘Building cyber resilience: aligning strategies and increasing cooperation’, the third Friends of Europe debate on resilience. “The empire seems to be striking back, thanks to the EU’s playbook of responsive measures to improve resilience, deterrence and to hold cyber-attackers to account,” said Jamie Shea, Senior Fellow at Friends of Europe.
Disruptive and malicious cyberattacks increasingly threaten our lives and society at every level. They cost the world €235 billion in 2017, with the NotPetya attack alone racking up corporate losses in the hundreds of millions. The WannaCry ransomware attack perpetrated by North Korea infected 300,000 computers across 150 countries and brought chaos to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service hospitals. Deterrence and resilience are key to being able to withstand, recover and respond to these malicious assaults.
Building on the 2016 Warsaw Joint Declaration, the European Union and NATO have stepped up their cybersecurity measures and capabilities. These include extended partnership – such as coordinated exercises ranging from prevention, crisis management and recovery – and even the prospect of striking back at cyber foes. Yet, is the EU-NATO cooperation mature enough to enable both organisations to make a comprehensive contribution to cybersecurity? And are current international norms enough to govern conduct in cyberspace? There is also concern about Europe’s ability to secure its cyber domain, given the new threats emerging alongside technologies like 5G and artificial intelligence (AI).