Wednesday, January 17, 2007

European Commission Studies Network Resiliency

The European Commission is seeking feedback on how best to secure electronic networks against disruption from attack or natural hazards.

A new study has identified a range of important issues for ensuring that future networks are sufficiently protected and resilient. The consequences of the failure of or criminal attack on a single network or sub-system could potentially be propagated more widely and faster than ever before. The study argues that protective measures need to be put in place to ensure that critical services and infrastructure are not vulnerable to such failures, and that there can be no "domino effect" that might otherwise result in a major technological collapse of communications and the many services they support.

"Communication and information infrastructures are the nervous system of our modern society," said Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Information Society and Media. "As our dependency on them grows, we need to do all we can to safeguard such networks. I would not like Europe to experience the huge problems Asia faced over the Christmas time as a consequence of an earthquake south of Taiwan. I therefore call on all stakeholders to participate in this consultation so that we can together determine how best to protect ourselves in the future."

The study carried out for the Commission reports on the reliability (against failure) and the robustness (against attack and other hazards) - of electronic communication networks. It provides insights into the overall security of these networks, based on extensive interviews with virtually all types of stakeholder.

The study makes 10 recommendations for key actions to be taken by the European Commission, Member States and the private sector. These include: emergency exercises and drills, the establishment of pre-arranged priority restoration procedures, the conclusion of formal mutual aid agreements between operators and service providers, addressing interdependencies between the communications and other critical sectors, enhancing information sharing mechanisms including cross-sector communications, the implementation of innovative trusted concepts, and the use of industry consensus best-practices.

The study is available online.

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