IN AN AGE WHERE cybersecurity threats are an increasing worry, the European Council is pushing a plan to better respond to cyberthreats. The Council adopted on May 17 a framework for targeted sanctions in order to respond to and deter cyberattacks on the European Union and its member states.
“The EU recognises that cyberspace offers significant opportunities, but also presents continuously evolving challenges,” the council stated in a news release. “It is concerned at the rise of malicious behaviour in cyberspace that aims at undermining the EU’s integrity, security and economic competitiveness, with the eventual risk of conflict.”
The framework allows the EU for the first time to impose sanctions on people or entities responsible for cyberattacks or attempted cyberattacks, as well as those who provide financial, technical or material support.Cyberattacks that qualify for the new sanctions include those that have “significant impact” and which “originate or are carried out from outside the EU or use infrastructure outside the EU or are carried out by persons or entities established or operating outside the EU or are carried out with the support of person or entities operating outside the EU,” the Council said in its statement.
The restrictive measures include banning people travelling to the EU, and an asset freeze on people or entities. At the same time, EU persons and entities are also forbidden from making funds available to the offenders.
The measure is necessary, the Council said, because of the threat cyberattacks increasingly pose to citizens, businesses, governments and critical infrastructure.