< SWITCH ME >
|Written by Hendrik Doobe|
A spectre is haunting Europe, a legion of internet-villains, who threaten to destroy our very way of (2nd) life. But fear not! A European alliance has been forged to battle this evil. We call it ENISA (European Network and Information Security Agency) and they are the last defences against the machines.
At the beginning of November 2010 (cf. EU commission press release IP/10/1459), this alliance brought together its battalions for the first time to test their defences in the first "cyber stress test", or cyber war exercise, in which some 150 experts participated.
Our EU-cyber-war legion had no helmets or guns, but fought with mice and keyboards. The Commission promised electronic trenches and barbed-wire, announcing that their "experts will try to counter simulated attempts by hackers to paralyse critical online services in several EU Member States". But compared to the U.S. or even some Member states, what was sold by ENISA as a breakthrough was not much more than a "tea time for IT experts", as one spectator put it.
In one room they switched off some internet connections, and in the other they practised repairing them. A very basic scenario indeed! Why not try it next time you are in the university library and see how long it takes to fix! How would these experts survive if hit by a real cyber attack? Perhaps they would be overrun while dedusting their keyboards.
Why is it that our big war rhetoric is not met by big deeds? One explanation could be that the EU still is not a sovereign state. There are 27 of us! Although the EU only discovered the threats of the internet in 2009 and started its "digital agenda", single member states did so much earlier, but are not prepared to give up their sovereignty once again. Maybe we should therefore start by tackling language barriers, clarifying whether cyber attacks are a matter for the police, intelligence or the military and setting up a functional address database.
Once we are really united we have the opportunity to create a Great Wall of China of cyber security, with an army of a million cyber geeks, trained for years playing world of warcraft, ready to protect us.