In 2017, we encountered a vast diversity of the cyber threats that offered some key insights. We gained tangible evidence regarding monetization methods, attacks on democracies, cyber-war, transformation of malicious infrastructures and the dynamics within threat agent groups.
On 11 January 2018, a crime group suspected of hosting a large-scale illegal IPTV streaming business has been dismantled. The investigations were led by the Cypriot Police – Intellectual Property Crime Unit, with the support of the Cybercrime Division of the Greek Police, the Dutch Fiscal Investigative and Intelligence Service (FIOD), the Cybercrime Unit of the Bulgarian Police, Europol’s Intellectual Property Crime Coordinated Coalition (IPC³) and with the support of members of the Audiovisual Anti-Piracy Alliance (AAPA). In total, four individuals have been arrested and 17 houses searches have been carried out in Cyprus, Bulgaria and Greece.
On 11 January 2018, Europol’s Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU) organised the eighth joint Referral Action Day with colleagues from the national referral units of Belgium, France and the United Kingdom, to identify and secure the swift removal of terrorist and violent extremism content uploaded on Facebook and Instagram. The intensive referral campaign was hosted at Europol’s headquarters in The Hague and targeted content by terrorist groups and terrorist sympathisers, aiming at radicalising, recruiting and propagating terrorist activities.
While the EU’s goal for 2020 is to ensure that all Europeans should have access to Internet speeds above 30 Mbit/s and at least 50% or more of European households subscribed to internet access above 100 Mbit/s, many countries still face difficulties meeting the increasing demand from users and local authorities for a mobile connectivity available in rural areas and in constrained areas (indoor locations, subways, tunnels, hot spots…).
The EESC urges the EU and its Member States to adopt a European-level cybersecurity model, to strengthen the mandate of the European cybersecurity agency and, lastly, to establish an effective European certification scheme for online services and products.
Social networks and media platforms have existed for 20 years now. Today, in the EU alone, more than one billion posts and tweets, video clips and photos are shared on these platforms every day. Many of them are informative or entertaining, some are disruptive or harmful to minors, others simply illegal and punishable by law. It is time for the European Commission’s leadership to have direct talks with high-level representatives of media platforms and social networks.
Five Commissioners will meet tomorrow in Brussels with representatives of online platforms to discuss progress made in tackling the spread of illegal content online, including online terrorist propaganda and xenophobic, racist or hate speech as well as breaches of intellectual property rights.
Two newly-discovered security flaws in computer processors, named Meltdown and Spectre, could allow unauthorised users to gain direct access to the heart of computer systems and steal personal data. The vulnerabilities were discovered by an international research team, in which Graz University of Technology’s Institute of Applied Information Processing and Communications (TU Graz, Austria) played a central role. The EU’s European Research Council (ERC) has been supporting this research project since 2016, to the tune of two-million euro.