EU aims for a block-wide cyber defense to fend off Russia

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine prompted the European Union to call for a unified cyber defense policy and measures.

Calling out the blurring line between civilian and military cyberspace, the European Commission (EC) suggests the European block respond by developing a joint cyber defense approach.

“It is a stark reminder that the EU needs close military and civilian cooperation in cyberspace to become a stronger security provider. The EU needs to take on more responsibility for its own security,” EC’s joint communication to the European Parliament and Council said.

The EC, EU’s executive body, suggests member states establish an EU Cyber Defense Coordination Centre to advance threat intelligence sharing, defense partnerships, and cooperation between authorities such as the military, law enforcement, and private sector cyber professionals.

The move comes as a reaction to what the EC calls an intensified malicious behavior in cyberspace from state and non-state actors, resulting in ballooning cyberattacks against civilian and military infrastructure.

“Cyber is the new domain in warfare. To be up to the challenges and threats ahead of us, we need modern and interoperable European armed forces equipped with the latest cyber defense capabilities,” EC’s vice president Josep Borrell said in a statement.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24 kickstarted the largest war Europe has seen since the end of the Second World War. Hostilities in cyberspace preceded the invasion, with Moscow targeting Ukrainian infrastructure with wiper malware.

On the day of the invasion, Russia targeted ViaSat’s satellite KA-SAT network with cyberattacks, causing outages for several thousand Ukrainian customers and also affecting German wind energy suppliers and critical emergency services in France.

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