The European Union is set to impose strict cybersecurity measures on its members, with new legislation setting tighter requirements for businesses, administrations, and infrastructure across a range of sectors deemed to be essential.
Rules requiring EU countries to meet stricter supervisory and enforcement measures and harmonise their sanctions were approved by MEPs last week.
According to the EU, differing national cybersecurity measures make the global body more vulnerable and the new legislation covers “essential sectors” such as energy, transport, banking, health, among others.
The legislation, already agreed between MEPs and the Council in May, will set tighter cybersecurity obligations for risk management, reporting obligations and information sharing.
The requirements cover incident response, supply chain security, encryption and vulnerability disclosure, among other provisions.
“Essential sectors” such as the energy, transport, banking, health, digital infrastructure, public administration and space sectors will be covered by the new security provisions.
During negotiations, MEPs insisted on the need for clear and precise rules for companies, and pushed for the inclusion of as many governmental and public bodies as possible within the scope of the directive.
The new rules will also protect so-called “important sectors” such as postal services, waste management, chemicals, food, manufacturing of medical devices, electronics, machinery, motor vehicles and digital providers. All medium-sized and large companies in selected sectors would fall under the legislation.
It also establishes a framework for better cooperation and information sharing between different authorities and member states and creates a European vulnerability database.
“Ransomware and other cyber threats have preyed on Europe for far too long. We need to act to make our businesses, governments and society more resilient to hostile cyber operations” said lead MEP Bart Groothuis from the Netherlands.
“This European directive is going to help around 160,000 entities tighten their grip on security and make Europe a safe place to live and work. It will also enable information sharing with the private sector and partners around the world. If we are being attacked on an industrial scale, we need to respond on an industrial scale.” he said.
“This is the best cyber security legislation this continent has yet seen, because it will transform Europe to handling cyber incidents pro-actively and service orientated,” he added.
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