Following a large scale DDoS attack on its servers in Brussels in November 2016 and a 20 percent rise in targeted cyber-attacks, the European Commission has enhanced security measures in cooperation with NATO and encourages its senior employees to enable email encryption.
In 2015 alone, NATO experienced some 320 cyberattacks per month, while 2016 brought more sophisticated, aggressive attacks.
“In general terms, there has not been an increase in quantity, but in quality and complexity,” said a NATO official. “The attacks we face are now more sophisticated.”
The FBI report release last week that assets Russian President Vladimir Putin’s direct involvement in the cyber-attacks on the US presidential election further raises concern that Russian intelligence may interfere this year with elections in France and Germany. Politicians in these states believe Russian intelligence will use fake news and misinformation campaigns to destabilize the political scene.
“It’s clear that many institutions across Europe and, more widely, that includes the European Commission, are subject to a continuously increasing number of cyber-attacks from different sources,” Sir Julian King, the EU security commissioner, told the FT. “These threats are persistent, they are aggressive, and more and more dangerous and potentially destructive.”
The most damaging cyber-attacks are those that seek to “undermine the trust in our democracies,” he added.
The European Commission’s servers keep strategic and confidential information related to the 28 member states.