In recent years, CERTs have been developed in both private and public sectors as small teams of cyber-experts connected to the internet that can effectively and efficiently respond to information security incidents and cyber threats, often on a 24 hours a day-7days a week basis.
Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission for the Digital Agenda said; "Cyber-attacks are a very real and ever-increasing threat. Whether against individual countries, companies or most recently against the European Commission, they can paralyse key infrastructure and cause huge long-term damage. Setting up this CERT pre-configuration team is a further demonstration of how seriously the EU Institutions take the cyber-security threat"
As for any other public administration around the world, the level of cyber threat for the European institutions is very high and multiple incidents have already occurred, most recently in March-April when European Commission IT experts detected an intrusion in their systems. An attack against the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme recently saw at least €30 million of emissions allowances stolen from national registries.
The CERT pre-configuration team established today will operate in close cooperation with the IT security teams in the respective EU Institutions and liaise with the community of CERTs in the Member States and elsewhere, exchanging information on threats and how to handle them.