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One small nation preparing to fight fire with fire on cyber attacks

By BROOKS TIGNER, BRUSSELS – When it comes to the front-line for protection against cyber attacks, the Euro-Atlantic region splits into three categories of nations: those purely seeking the defensive, those who have added, or intend to add, cyber-offensive capabilities to their toolbox, and those who aren’t sure which way to go, but hope they can rely on the bigger members of the EU or NATO to protect their interests. So far, the Euro-Atlantic security community’s cyber-offensive club is an elite one comprising Britain, France, Germany, Netherlands, the United States and, arguably, Canada, though the latter remains tight-lipped about the subject. Each has a dedicated cyber-command. With the exception of the Netherlands, whose population of 17 million puts it in the middling rank of European countries, all these cyber-offensive players are big. But that is about to change, however, with the entry by mid-2018 into the cyber-offensive realm of…

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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...