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Cybersecurity in the EU and UK: Current Landscape and International Diplomacy


Evolving Cyber Threats and New Regulations

As 2024 progresses, cybersecurity remains a critical concern for both the European Union (EU)and the United Kingdom (UK). The digital landscape continues to expand with technological advancements, making robust cybersecurity measures increasingly vital. Both regions are experiencing heightened cyber threats from various state and non-state actors, necessitating comprehensive regulatory responses and international cooperation.


EU Cybersecurity Initiatives

The EU has introduced significant updates to its cybersecurity framework, particularly through the NIS2 Directive. This directive aims to enhance cybersecurity resilience across member states by imposing stricter reporting requirements and establishing more rigorous security measures for essential and important entities. Organizations must now report security incidents within 24 hours of detection, with a full report due within 72 hours, and a final report within a month.


Furthermore, the EU has created the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-EU) to coordinate threat intelligence and response efforts across Union institutions. This centralization is designed to align the EU’s public administration with high cybersecurity standards, promoting an efficient and secure digital infrastructure.


UK’s Cybersecurity Strategy

Following Brexit, the UK has sought to independently bolster its cybersecurity measures. The UK’s proposed updates to its Network and Information Systems (NIS) regulations mirror many aspects of the EU’s NIS2 Directive but are tailored to the specific needs of the UK. The UK aims to expand the definition of reportable incidents to include those posing significant risks even if service continuity is not directly affected. The government emphasizes the importance of cyber resilience in critical national infrastructure and aims to enhance the overall cybersecurity posture

across the economy.


International Diplomacy and Cybersecurity Cooperation

Diplomacy plays a crucial role in cybersecurity, particularly in addressing cross-border cyber threats. The EU and UK face persistent cyber espionage and attacks from state-affiliated actors, notably from China and Russia. For instance, the UK recently accused Chinese state-affiliated actors of conducting cyberattacks on its electoral watchdog and individual lawmakers. Similarly, Germany has faced significant cyberattacks allegedly from Russian groups like Fancy Bear.


To mitigate these threats, the EU and UK engage in extensive international cooperation. They work closely with allies such as the United States to share intelligence and coordinate responses to cyber incidents. The EU’s cybersecurity certification schemes, such as the EUCS for cloud services, set rigorous standards that also apply to non-EU providers, thereby promoting global

cybersecurity norms.


Challenges and Future Directions

Implementing new cybersecurity regulations presents challenges, particularly in ensuring compliance across diverse sectors and regions. The NIS2 Directive, for example, requires businesses to significantly upgrade their cybersecurity practices, which may be a complex and resource-intensive process . The cultural shift towards more open intelligence sharing is also essential but requires overcoming significant hurdles related to victim blaming and the stigma associated with cyber incidents.


In conclusion, the cybersecurity landscape in the EU and UK is marked by robust regulatory frameworks and active international diplomacy aimed at addressing evolving cyber threats. Continued cooperation and adaptation to new regulations will be key to enhancing cybersecurity resilience in the face of increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks.


References

Latest Draft of the European Cybersecurity Certification Scheme for Cloud Services –

Updates for Non-EU Cloud Service Providers. (2023b, November 30). Insights | Skadden,



latest-draft-of-the-european-cybersecurity-certification-scheme

Regulating Cybersecurity across the EU and the UK - McDermott Will & Emery. (2023d,


January 18). McDermott Will & Emery. https://www.mwe.com/insights/regulating-

cybersecurity-across-the-eu-and-the-uk/


Starcevic, S. (2024b, May 13). Timeline: Europe under cyber siege in 2024. POLITICO. https://www.politico.eu/article/europe-cyberattacks-russia-china-uk-ministry-of-defence-hacks/


Import. (2024b, January 18). Cybersecurity: European 2024 Trends & Predictions. In Cyber News. https://incyber.org/en/article/cybersecurity-european-2024-trends-predictions/


Crowdfund Insider. (2024, January 1). New cybersecurity rules for the EU kick in. Crowdfund



This Article is the work of Anushka a fellow with EICBI

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