In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – though admittedly in the works since before then – Europe’s Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, has announced plans (opens in new tab) to draw up a European Cyber Shield to protect against future cybersecurity threats and attacks – economic, political, commercial or military in nature.
Breton believes that a “dispersed” Europe should come together to manage more advanced technologies, secure infrastructures, and effective sanctions.
An all-round approach designed to “protect, detect, defend and deter” has been conceived in the form of the European Cyber Shield, which is set to be launched “gradually.”
Will the European Cyber Shield work?
In essence, the Shield hopes to protect the continent by revisiting dependencies, standardize regulatory requirements across member states, and ascertain minimum requirements for products and software placed on the single market. Breton also mentioned the importance of post-quantum encryption.
Dan Morgan, a director at information security firm SecurityScorecard (opens in new tab), describes the plan as “ambitious and comprehensive,” but highlights potential concerns about a Europe-centric strategy.
Morgan explains: “While the interconnected nature of Europe necessitates cooperation among nations, the increasingly global nature of cyber threats demands a broader approach.”
The four-stage approach is “commendable,” says Morgan; however, achieving a high standard of collaboration across borders could be challenging.
While it’s unclear how gradual the development of a Cyber Shield will be in Europe, Breton said that discussions have already been entered into with the NATO Secretary General and the US Secretary of Homeland Security.
Breton said in his announcement that the US believes itself to be better operationally than Europe in combating cyberattacks, but worse when it comes to intervening with effective regulation.
Morgan summarized: “By engaging with global partners, Europe can not only bolster its cyber resilience but also contribute to a more secure digital future for all.”
A collaborative effort outside of the Shield could help to strengthen the global cybersecurity approach, but having multiple sub-divisions will remain important to providing a variety of viewpoints and approaches to avoid complacency on a global level.