The European Commission (EC) is to propose the establishment of a Cybercrime Centre to tackle rising levels of online crime within member states.
It said this will be established to help EU member states' investigations into cyber crime and to map organised crime online. It will also be responsible for training national experts on cyber crime and will form part of the EU police agency Europol.
The centre, which the EC first mentioned in its 2010 Internal Security Strategy, is due to open in 2013 and is the latest EU move to combat cyber crime.
Speaking at a press announcement, Cecilia Malmström, member of the EC in charge of home affairs, highlighted the low costs of credentials and said that cyber crime creates fear "of putting things online, of using social networks, a fear of our ordinary internet lives".
She said e-commerce only equates to four per cent of the EC's economy, so there needs to be a strengthening of confidence among consumers, particularly in light of the current euro crisis. Asking what can be done, she said: “Let's put the best people together, the best brains to identify the main cyber criminal networks and the main threats in cyberspace.
“That is why the commission is proposing today to put together a centre that will bring together some of the best brains in the field of cyber crime, under the flag of Europol in The Hague.”
Malmström added: “This will not target individual file-sharers, this is about severe organised cyber crime across the European Union.” She also said the centre will be a hub to defend an internet that is free, open and safe. Its proposed budget is around €3.6m.
Jeremy Nicholls, European channel director EMEA at Arbor Networks, said: “We believe that the EU's move towards creating this centre is a step in the right direction, but there needs to be a co-ordinated effort across the industry to really make this work.”
Joseph Souren, vice-president and general manager of Wave Systems EMEA, said: “The announcement shows a serious intent to fight back against the torrent of cyber crime that has affected organisations worldwide for too long.
“We see thousands of new forms of malicious software code being launched against all types of organisation each month.
“Co-ordinated efforts, led by units such as the EU Cybercrime Centre, can not only help to map the extent of online criminal activity, but also advocate more robust IT defences.”
Ron Gula, CEO of Tenable Network Security, said: “Cybercrime is often perpetrated by individuals working together from different countries so I'm in favour of any law enforcement initiatives that allow for easier sharing of cyber crimes, the techniques used and any data that may have been stolen.
“The introduction of a new European Cybercrime Centre will enhance cyber-crime coordination across the EU. At the moment, each EU country has different laws which affect user privacy and stipulate varying corporate penalties for losing data.
“Coordinating cybercrime offenders at the EU level will not only better leverage crime fighting resources in each EU country, but it will also provide a consistent response. It is also important to remember that while the new EU cybercrime centre will focus on ecommerce and protection of internet users privacy, if and when there is a cyber-terror event, the culture and practices of sharing cyber-criminal investigations will ultimately enable the EU to respond quickly and effectively.”