[ISN] EU task force to study IT critical infrastructure

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Tue Apr 19 09:14:39 EDT 2005


By John Blau
IDG News Service

The European Union has set up a task force to explore what its 25
member states are doing in the area of combating cyber threats against
the region's critical infrastructure.

As part of the EU's Critical Information Infrastructure Research
Coordination (CI2RCO) project, announced Friday, the task force aims
to identify research groups and programs focused on IT security in
critical infrastructures, such as telecommunications networks and
power grids.

"We want to bring together experts across the EU, learn more about
their programs and how we can cooperate in curbing what we view as a
global problem," said Paul Friessem, a director at the Fraunhofer
Institute for Secure Information Technology (SIT), which is one of the
organizations in the European task force. "We also intend to
collaborate with experts outside the EU, in particular in the U.S.,
Canada, Australia and even possibly Russia."

One of the problems facing the task force is convincing parties to
divulge information that some governments view as critical to their
national security. "While most EU member states are aware of the
threat of cyberattacks on their critical infrastructure and are thus
willing to share information, some are less willing," Friessem said.  
"We hope to overcome these barriers."

In addition to identifying research efforts within the enlarged EU,
the task force will ask the critical infrastructure players - telecom
operators, power companies and other utilities - about their
requirements. "We want to bring together these players to see where we
have overlapping efforts and gaps," Friessem said.

The plan is to submit an overview of the situation to the European
Commission over the next few months so that officials in Brussels can
address, if necessary, the issue of critical infrastructure security
research in the forthcoming Seventh Framework Program, according to
Friessem. The 7th Framework Program is the next five-year research and
development program funded by the EU.

The CI2RCO project will run for two years. In addition to SIT, the
task force includes the German Aerospace Center
(DLR);Industrieanlagen-Betriebsgesellschaft mbH (IABG); the Italian
National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and the Environment
(ENEA); Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research
(TNO); École Nationale Supérieure des Télécommunications; and Ernst

The task force expects to launch a new Web site within the next few
weeks, according to Friessem.

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