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Horizon 2020 programme throws cash at cybersecurity-related security projects, hoping something will stick to the Dark Web

By PATRICK STEPHENSON, with BROOKS TIGNER, BRUSSELS – Among the measures included in European Commission’s cybersecurity package, adopted on 13 September 2017, is the goal of transforming the European Union Agency for Information Security (ENISA) into a new cybersecurity agency. The Commission is also pushing researchers to study new ways to tackle Europe’s burgeoning cybercrime threats. The need is great, to say the least. According to the EU, ransomware attacks increased by 300 per cent between 2015 and 2017, and may increase four-fold again by 2019. One of the workshops during the 6 December meeting of the Commission’s “Community of Users” (CoU) of security research stakeholders (see related article in this issue) focused on cybercrime, several related research projects and the eye-raising statistics that confront authorities in their efforts to combat it. As Michele Socco of the Commission’s home affairs directorate-generale (DG HOME) told the workshop, “65 percent of digital evidence is…

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Tough political talks lie ahead between European Parliament and Council over rules and financing of EU’s future defence fund

By BROOKS TIGNER, BRUSSELS – The European Commission’s June 2017 proposal to create a European Defence Fund splits into two parts: a defence research “window” and one for capability development known as the European Defence Industrial Development Programme, or EDIDP. The latter would enable the EU to co-finance with national governments the pre-acquisition costs of testing, prototyping and demonstration for developing defence and dual-use capabilities. While few policymakers contest the research window’s rules and proposed budget of EUR 500 million per year starting in 2021, there are growing concerns within the European Parliament about the fairness of the EDIDP’s tentative structure and, moreover, how to fund its preliminary two-year budget of 500 million euros for 2019-2020. At issue are...