The House of Lords European Union Committee has today published a report warning against a lack of international cooperation on fighting cyber-crime, which it claims leaves the UK and other modern economies at increased risk of ‘catastrophic’ malware attacks.
The report highlights how dependant the modern world is on the internet and the infrastructure that supports it, and how a serious cyber-attack could cause rapid devastation which would be felt globally.
Claims such as these have been heard before, particularly from the software and IT industry, but this new report represents some of the strongest language on the subject made by a Government body.
The Committee’s chief recommendations are related to how specifically EU member states can better corporate on the detection of and defence against attacks on ‘critical information infrastructures’. It suggests that unilateral exercises which simulate the shutdown of communication networks are carried out by the end of 2010, and pan-European tests should follow.
It also stated that it was "shocked by the lack of cooperation" between the EU and NATO, and recommends much more formal procedures are put in place to address this. Further corporation with Russia and China was also recommended.
Chairman of the Sub-Committee on Home Affairs Lord Jopling said: "We believe strongly that the Government and the EU should be giving greater attention to how cyber-security could be developed on a global basis. The Internet has no borders, and it is important that any proposals from the Commission are considered in a global context.
"A first step must be better cooperation with NATO. The EU and NATO have similar interests in defence against cyber-attacks and work in similar ways, yet there is virtually no communication between them. There must be cooperation rather than duplication. Further to this, broadening the dialogue with other major international players, such as the US, Russia and China will be essential if we are to become more robust in our defences against cyber attacks".