Amid ever-growing fears of cybercriminals and malicious hackers holding governments and its citizens to ransom, the European Union (EU) has warned that a cyberattack against a single member state will entice a collective response from all EU members.
In a meeting in Luxembourg, EU foreign ministers addressed concerns toward the increase in cybercrimes through malicious means. The discussion comes in the aftermath of May’s “WannaCry” attack, an unprecedented ransomware operation that infected hundreds of thousands of computers across a hundred countries around the world.
The cybersecurity arm of British intelligence services has reportedly pointed the finger at North Korean hackers. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – GCHQ’s cybersecurity arm, sees the Lazarus Group as the source of the WannaCry ransomware.
EU foreign ministers, according to news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP), confirmed that their respective nations were “concerned by the increased ability and willingness of state and nonstate actors to pursue their objectives through malicious cyber activities.”
Pointing to collective “restrictive measures” or sanctions against countries backing or sponsoring cybercriminal activity, a statement by EU foreign ministers read:
Such activities may constitute wrongful acts under international law and could give rise to a joint EU response.
The most influential cyberattack in recent times is that of the DNC servers during last year’s US presidential campaign. Moscow has been frequently accused of instigating the attacks, as a means to sway the vote in favor of the then Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Germany is already taking preventative measures to avoid similar incidents in the lead-up to the German elections in September. The country is in a state of “heightened readiness” to face the threat of cyber attacks ahead of the parliamentary elections, according to Germany’s Federal Office of Information Security (BSI). The body’s president confirmed that German government networks were being targeted by attackers on a “daily basis.”
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