11 January 2013 saw the inauguration of the EU’s new European Cyber Crime Centre - the EC3. Hosted by Europol and based in The Hague, the centre will form a focal point for the fight against cyber crime in the EU and coordination with other bodies and departments, including the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The Centre is the latest in a string of measures enacted at the European level to fight this new trend in criminal activity. Cyber crime affects health in a number of ways - at the health system level, cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure and information systems are on the rise, threatening the safety and security of national health services, particularly as the use of electronic patient records increases. Furthermore, attacks on information systems present a real risk to the protection of sensitive health data. At the level of patient care, ever more sophisticated medical devices and technologies are emerging, often with wireless capability and remote monitoring functions - such devices have been found to be vulnerable to hacking and cyber-attacks and so threaten patient safety.
A special Eurobarometer report, conducted in March 2012, revealed that more than half of EU citizens use the internet at least once a day to access a range of services. Sixty-six percent are concerned that public authorities are not storing, or cannot store, information securely, whilst 43 per cent are concerned about not being able to access online services as a result of cyber attacks. As more and more health services and administration functions are moved to online platforms, confidence in the resilience of these systems must be assured.
The EC3 will provide a ’secure outreach platform’ to exchange information and best practice across the EU and with strategic partners such as the U.S, Norway, Iceland, Australia and Canada, among others.
EPHA related articles:
EPHA Briefing on Cyber Security and Health Technologies
[EPHA Briefing] General Data Protection Regulation
EPHA position on General Data Protection Regulation
EPHA Briefing on Health Security