The European Commission (EC) has said that it is being hit by a “continuous stream of cyber attacks” that range from basic phishing scams to high-level attempts to steal data.
The vice president of the EC responsible for inter-institutional relations, Maroš Šefčovič, revealed that the attacks targeting the organisation during a speech at the annual Security and Safety Symposium in Brussels.
“Like so many other public and private organisations throughout the world, the Commission is suffering a continuous stream of cyber attacks,” he said.
“Whereas most of these attacks relate to relatively innocent 'phishing' or similar IT scams, an increasing number specifically aim at the Commission’s interests, activities and information.”
The revelation is perhaps not hugely surprising given the threats faced by firms of all sizes from cyber criminals, but the high-level nature of the attacks Šefčovič hinted at underlines just how serious a threat this has become.
During the speech Šefčovič also touched on the concerns that the PRISM spying scandal has raised as he questioned whether such high-level intrusion was really warranted.
“Although the principle objective of the surveillance programmes might well be justified on anti-terrorism grounds, questions remain with regard to privacy laws and related issues of jurisdiction,” he said.
He added, though, that organisations must also consider the risk from their own staff leaking information. “However serious this incident might look, we must not forget that no less harm could be done by negligence or deliberate leakage of classified or sensitive information by our own staff.”
To counter these issues Šefčovič said cross-industry work was vital to help share information and work together to protect against similar threats. "The success of our security measures depends to a large extent upon the effective co-operation with our partners, both in the Commission and outside," he said.
The threat to firms of all sizes has saw UK banks take part in a cyber war games event this week, dubbed Waking Shark II, which saw firms such as Barclays and RBS test out their responses to major cyber attacks.
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