EU Seeks ‘Cyber Shield’ to Ward off Online Attacks

The European Union on Tuesday unveiled a 1.1-billion-euro ($1.2 billion) plan to help stave off cross-border hacking attacks as the threat from Russia grows.

Europe is looking to shore up its online defenses as Moscow’s war on Ukraine has raised fears that Russian hackers could target critical infrastructure.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, said the “Cyber Shield” plan would look to link up capabilities at designated “Security Operations Centres” across member states.

It said the first centers could be operational by 2024 and would use artificial intelligence and advanced data analytics to track threats.

The aim of the plan — which still has to be negotiated with EU states — is to help deal with a large-scale attack targeting multiple countries.

But EU states have been skeptical about handing too much power to Brussels to tackle emerging threats in sensitive areas of their national infrastructure.

“Sometimes there was a reluctance between member states to share,” said European competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

“But the thing is, I think it has become increasingly clear that no one can solve this alone.”

The initiative also foresees setting up a “cybersecurity reserve” of private providers that would be able to intervene to help a country targeted by a major attack.

The threat from Russia was demonstrated at the start of its invasion of Ukraine when the West says Moscow carried out a cyberattack against a US satellite network.

Washington said the attack against satellite operator Viasat was designed to disrupt Ukrainian command and control just as the Kremlin was sending in its tanks.

European providers said the incident also threw thousands of internet users offline in France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, and Poland.

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