Cyber incident reporting in the EU

ENISA took a snapshot of existing and future EU legislation on security measures and incident reporting. Their analysis underlines important steps forward, but also identifies gaps in national implementation, as most incidents are not reported.

Cyber security incidents significantly impact society. Here are five well-known examples:

  • In 2012, millions of business network passwords were exposed
  • In 2011, the storm Dagmar wrecked millions of Scandinavian communication links
  • In 2011, a British data centre failure interrupted millions of business communications worldwide
  • In 2011, a certificate authority was breached exposing the communications of millions of users
  • In 2010, a Chinese telecom provider hijacked 15% of the world’s internet traffic for 20 minutes.

Each time, millions of citizens and businesses were seriously impacted. But most incidents are not reported or not even detected. Dr Marnix Dekker and Chris Karsberg, the report’s co-authors, argue: “Cyber incidents are most commonly kept secret when discovered, leaving customers and policymakers in the dark about frequency, impact and root causes.”

The new report “Cyber Incident Reporting in the EU” provides an overview of existing and planned legislation covering the mandatory incident reporting clauses in Article 13a of the Telecom package and Article 4 of the e-privacy directive, the proposed e-ID regulation’s Article 15, and Articles 30, 31, 32 of the Data Protection reform.

The study shows common factors and differences between the articles and looks ahead to the EU cyber security strategy. The paper also identifies areas for improvement. For example, only one of the above-mentioned incidents was within the scope of the national regulators mandate, indicating that there are gaps in the regulation. Thus, EU-wide sharing of incident reports sharing should be improved.


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