Fortress Europe: EU transport networks vulnerable to cyberattacks

13 Jan 2017

Interior of Charles de Gaulle TGV Airport train station. Image: Saaton/Shutterstock

The European Commission (EC) has been warned that European transport networks, including flights, trains and ferries, are vulnerable to devastating cyberattacks.

It is understood that plans are underway for an EU-wide war game type exercise to prepare for a potential cyberattack on multiple member states simultaneously.

The warning comes after a year in which Europe is already reeling from devastating terrorist attacks in Paris, Nice and Berlin, with threats posed by an increasingly belligerent Russia.

According to The Irish Times, the EC’s security commissioner, Sir Julian King, presented a paper warning of the threats and vulnerabilities.

Simultaneous terrorist attack and cyberattack could have devastating impact

King assesses that when timed with a terrorist attack, cyberattacks can have a “devastating impact, destabilising a country or challenging its political institutions”.

In the US, the implications of alleged hacking by Russian hackers on the democratic process is becoming clear.

It emerged recently that twice in the past year, the Ukraine power grid was attacked by hackers, with the most recent attack taking place just before Christmas.

Ukraine said that Russia directed thousands of cyberattacks towards it in the final months of 2016.

According to the paper submitted by King, there have been 110 separate attempts to hack the EC’s servers in 2016, up 20pc on 2015.

Interior of Charles de Gaulle TGV Airport train station. Image: saaton/Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years