cybersecurity in europe
© Siriporn Kaenseeya |

Here, we find out some of the ways how the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity works to improve cybersecurity in Europe

Since 2004, the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) has worked to make Europe cyber secure. Going into a bit more detail, we know that ENISA actively contributes to European cybersecurity policy, in that it supports the Member States and European Union (EU) stakeholders to respond to large-scale cyber incidents across borders. This work is a vital part of the correct functioning of the Digital Single Market.

ENISA works closely with the Member States, as well as the private sector to deliver solutions, advice and aim to improve their capabilities. Amongst other things, this support includes:

  • Pan-European cybersecurity exercises;
  • The evaluation and development and of national cybersecurity strategies and;
  • Studies on smart infrastructures and the Internet of Things (IoT), privacy-enhancing technologies and privacy on emerging technologies, addressing data protection issues, eIDs and trust services and identifying the cyber threat landscape. (1)

In terms of the organisation’s leadership, we know that Prof Dr Udo Helmbrecht became ENISA’s Executive Director back in October 2009. He was appointed to the role after making a statement to the European Parliament and replying to MEPs’ questions during April 2009. In September 2014, ENISA’s Management Board extended the Director’s term of office for five years and, of course, that recently came to an end. During his 10 years at ENISA, Prof Helmbrecht was assisted by an Advisory Group and ad hoc Working Groups on technical and scientific matters. (2) In his CV, we find out how his leadership clearly benefitted the excellent work of ENISA.

“Under Helmbrecht’s leadership, ENISA has consolidated its role as a centre of network and information security expertise, and continued its work to facilitate cooperation in network and information security across Europe.” (3)

Of course, the vital work continues with Mr Juhan Lepassaar, who was appointed Executive Director of the Agency. On 16th July 2019, the Management Board of ENISA selected him as Prof Helmbrecht’s replacement.(4) In more recent news, we learn that ENISA and the European Security and Defence College (ESDC) hosted and organised training dedicated to information security risk management (ISRM).

27 seasoned professionals from nine Members States and four EU institutions had their cybersecurity knowledge reinforced over two days. Such an event is a fantastic opportunity to exchange good practices and experiences and, of course, to hone their cybersecurity and risk management skills. Those taking part can, therefore, transfer what they have learnt back to their respective organisations which can only be of enormous benefit. (5)

A significant piece of ENISA news from early September 2019, when a report was published to direct incident response teams who must facilitate information exchange among teams and improve reaction time to security incidents. The press release gives us a valuable insight into the vital work of incident response teams in sharing threat and incident information.

“As of June 2019 there are more than 414 incident response teams in Europe. These teams work together to respond to cyber-attacks and need to use secure and reliable communication channels to share threat and incident information while protecting European citizens and businesses. These incident response teams are often organised in communities such as CSIRTs Network, TF-CSIRT, FIRST and other regional, sub-regional or sectorial communities and they continuously communicate and exchange information. Typical information exchanged among teams include threat intelligence, indicators of compromise (IoCs), malware samples and details about relevant incidents.”

In closing, I would like to say that the above examples illustrate really well ENISA’s work since 2005 in supporting Member States and Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRT) communities in Europe to build and advance their incident response capabilities by means such as onsite and online training, handbooks and dedicated projects. A key part of ENISA’s work concerns setting up, developing or running or capabilities of CSIRT’s. Let’s finish with the words of the ENISA: “The goal is to define minimum common baseline practices across the EU to improve operational cooperation, preparedness and information exchange for the next generation of cyber-attacks.” (6)




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