In June, the European Council announced the “cyber diplomacy toolbox.” The toolbox is a set of guidelines for member countries when dealing with cybercrime. And more importantly how to uniformly handle cybercrime, cooperating with other European Union member states.
The toolbox was designed so that any applicable cybercrime against a member state could warrant a joint retaliation by the EU as a whole. And according to the EU, the toolbox is part of their approach to cyber diplomacy; the prevention of cybercrime; the mediation of cyber disputes; and the encouraging of long and short term collaboration.
The EU press release explained that the new “diplomatic response” to cybercrime will “make full use of measures within the Common Foreign and Security Policy, including, if necessary, restrictive measures.” The response, they explained, would be proportionately scaled to that of the initial cyberattack.
In a conversation with CyberScoop, an EU official said:
“The key principle here is proportionality. It is EU member states who would decide what measure should be used depending on the case they would face … This work aims to promote enhanced shared situational awareness, information sharing and efficient decision-making, and should see the development of a procedure for the attribution of cyberattacks in the context of the cyber diplomacy toolbox.”
The framework creates the structure to jointly impose full economic sanctions on the offending party. Member states would be able to punish a wide range of cybercriminals. Individuals, hacking groups, and even entire countries. “The EU reiterates that states should not knowingly allow their territory to be used for internationally wrongful acts using Information and Communication Technologies (ICT),” they reiterated.
Comodo Senior Research Scientist Kenneth Geers told CyberScoop that “the potential impact is the important factor, both for allies and adversaries.” Furthermore, “allies want more security, adversaries will fear isolation and action, whether diplomatic, economic, or military.”
“Cybersecurity is fundamentally an international problem, so it requires an international solution. Unanimity is good and bad: hard to achieve, but worth the wait,” he added.
The announcement ended with a statement about the EU’s commitment to the peaceful settlement of international cybercrime incidents. Through increased cooperation and collaboration, they hope to cut down on unnecessary escalation of cybercrime responses.
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