EU businesses could be required to flag up any breaches of their "network and information systems" under a new "strategic" action plan to combat cyber security problems across the trading bloc.
The European Commission is planning to draft new laws on cyber security that could introduce a requirement for businesses to report when their "essential" systems, including the internet, have been disrupted due to "cyber incidents". It has launched a consultation seeking the views of Governments, businesses and others and said the views would help it form its legislative plans.
"The Commission is considering the introduction of a requirement to adopt risk management practices and to report security breaches affecting networks and information systems that are critical to the provision of key economic and societal services (eg, finance, energy, transport and health) and to the functioning of the Internet (eg, e-commerce, social networking)," the Commission said in a statement.
"Feedback received will help the Commission draw up an approach to possible future risk management and security breach reporting requirements that would affect businesses in particular," it added.
The Commission is seeking to expand the existing security breach notification regime that operates in the telecoms sector.
Currently telecoms operators and internet service providers are required, under the EU's Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive, to "take appropriate technical and organisational measures to appropriately manage the risks posed to security of networks and services" and take measures to "prevent and minimise the impact of security incidents on users and interconnected networks." The Directive requires that the network or service providers notify national regulators of any "breach of security or loss of integrity that has had a significant impact on the operation of networks or service".
Regulators can share details of the incidents with regulators in other EU member states and can require that the public is also notified of breaches if it is in the public interest for the notification to be made, under the terms of the Directive.
The Commission said that the number of cyber incidents are increasing and that there had been a "five-fold increase in companies reporting security incidents with a financial impact between 2007 and 2010". It said its aim is to "enhance preparedness, strengthen the resilience of critical infrastructure as well as to foster a cyber-security culture in the EU."
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