Following a number of incidents of cyber hacking from by elements in Russia and China that have caused an obvious alarm among European governments, the European Union now wants to respond to them and is will conduct a war games as a method for preparation.
There was a need for a reaction from the 28 member states of the EU because of an increase in the incidents of meddling, said Pekka Haavisto, Finland’s foreign minister. Fictional scenarios would have to be managed by EU interior and finance ministers when they meet for meetings in July and September in Helsinki.
Last October, GPS signals were blocked during an exercise being conducted by the Finnish forces in Nato military exercises in Norway and that incident was orchestrated by elements in Russia, believes Finland, which is slated to take over the EU’s rotating presidency on 1 July.
In another incident which was ultimately foiled Dutch military intelligence, hackers attempted to get into servers at the headquarters of the international chemical weapons watchdog earlier and this attack was also blamed on the Kremlin.
In another incident earlier this week, there was an attempt to breach the servers and systems at the networks of eight of the world’s biggest technology service providers by hackers with the aim of conducting intellectual property theft. Those incidents have also been blamed on hackers who were allegedly working for China’s ministry of state security.
“We want the union and member states to strengthen their capacities to prevent and respond. Military and civilian authorities can only do in times of crisis what they have been trained for,” Haavisto said.
EU leaders pledged to “a coordinated response to hybrid and cyber-threats” last week at a summit in Brussels, and to “work on measures to enhance the resilience and improve the security culture” of the EU.
As a measure to prevent hacking and leak of information, mobile signals were jammed during two of the last debates that were held by EU leaders where they discussed selection of the future leadership of EU institutions. And given the current security situation, such a policy for meetings would likely be continued to be followed by heads of state and government, senior EU officials were quoted in reports as saying.
The first every cyber-wargaming session was conducted by the EU in 2017 which was participated by EU defence ministers. In that session, the ministers were asked to react and respond to simulated cyber attacks on one of the bloc’s military missions abroad.
Investigations into a apparent cyber-attack that was conducted on a website which publishes voting results during the country’s elections is being conducted by Finnish police, the country had announced in April. For the next six-month period, cybersecurity would be one of the priorities, Finland has suggested.
An “open question” remained over the “future relationship between United Kingdom and the EU27, where the UK should define for herself both the answers and the basic rules of the game”, said Finland’s minister of European affairs, Tytti Tuppurainen, in a speech that set out some of the other challenges facing the EU.
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)