Updates

Critical infrastructure

2019

Russia’s Armed Forces are to lay a new fiber optic cable along Russia’s Arctic coastc coast as part of the construction of a new closed Internet. This new communication system that has been under development is named the Multi-service Transport Network System (MTSS) and is expected to support the exchange of 20 GB of information at a time between military units allowing for increased efficiency in the management of these units.

Members of the European Parliament adopted the EU Cybersecurity Act that defines the voluntary cybersecurity certification schemes for EU countries. It serves to provide compliance with cybersecurity standards for critical infrastructure, including energy grids, water, energy supplies, and banking systems, including other products and services. According to the act, the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) will be responsible for the preparation of the voluntary certification schemes. By 2023, the European Commission shall assess whether any of the voluntary schemes should become mandatory.
In addition, the European Parliament adopted a resolution that express concerns about growing technological presence, especially the use of Chinese 5G equipment products in the EU.



 

The European Council has formally approved a new regulation which will set up an EU-level tool to support member states screening foreign direct investment (FDI) on grounds of security and public order. The new regulation, which will protect critical infrastructure, will be published on 21 March 2019. It will enter into force 20 days later.

The European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA), released a paper on the upcoming elections for the European Parliament with EU-wide  recommendations for providing cybersecurity of electoral processes. The paper explores malign actors and their motivations, the cyber-threat landscape, and the human factor in online disinformation. For all issues, ENISA suggests twelve recommendations to mitigate the negative effects on the upcoming elections. Including: identifying unusual traffic patterns that could be associated with the spread of disinformation or cyberattacks on election processes; taking down botnets; using back up channels/technologies to validate the results with the count centres; classifying election systems, processes and infrastructures as critical infrastructure; considering introducing national legislation to tackle the challenges associated with online disinformation.

 

The European Parliament has agreed to set up an EU-level tool which will support member states’ screening foreign direct investment (FDI) on grounds of security and public order. The new regulation protects critical infrastructure such as energy, transport, communications, data, space, finance; and technologies, including semiconductors, artificial intelligence, and robotics. EU countries will co-operate and exchange information on FDI, and may issue comments on FDI targeting other member states. The European Commission may ask for information and deliver its opinion to the country where the investment is planned. The European Council is expected to formally endorse the agreement on 5 March.

EU’s Horizontal Working Party on Cyber Issues is developing a sanctions regime to deter and respond to cyber-attacks, which builds on the EU Cyber Diplomacy Toolbox. An internal memo ‘Cyber Diplomacy Toolbox – Options for a restrictive measures framework to respond to or deter cyber activities that threaten the security or foreign policy interests of the Union or its Member States’ outlined a regime to sanction foreign hacker groups, involved in data breaches, intellectual property theft and stealing of classified information, attacks on IT and critical infrastructure, as well as election hacks, Bloomberg reports. Sanctions, which include asset freezes and travel bans, can be put in place regardless of the attack succeeding or not, if the victim is an EU country or an EU partner. Measures will, however, have to be accompanied by criminal evidences, defensible at the European Court of Justice, thus allowing prosecuted parties to appeal the decision. In addition, when imposing sanctions, unanimity will be required among EU member states. According to Politico, the plan will be forwarded to foreign affairs attachés, and the regime is expected to be in place before the elections for the European Parliament in May, in order to avoid possible interference with the elections.

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