EC Claims New Cyber Crime Centre will be Launched in 2013

Europe is to get a new cyber crime centre under proposals drawn up by the European Commission.

The centre, which will be set up by 2013, will focus on the prevention of and investigation into criminal activity conducted over the internet, including hacking and viruses.

Announcing the plan, European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström said: "We must adapt to the digital reality and take on the challenge of cyber crime.

"Today, you don't need a bomb to attack a nuclear power plant. You don't need a gun to rob people. The internet gives criminals new opportunities to attack critical infrastructure and steal money from our bank accounts. It is our job to ensure that they do not succeed."

If the plans get the go-ahead from Europe's Council of Ministers, the centre will be set up at European police office Europol. Member states, including the UK, will be expected to form Computer Emergency Response teams to feed into the centre.

The Commission also proposes that a European information sharing and alert system, EISAS, should be set up within the same timescale.

It proposes that member states should ensure common standards among police, judiciary and forensic investigators as well as liaising with relevant bodies to develop national cyber crime awareness and training, including setting up centres of excellence at national level or in partnership with other member states.

Once the plan is in force, the Commission will produce an annual report including recommendations for improvement. The cyber crime proposals are part of the Commission's EU Internal Security Strategy in Action report, which also contains proposals on tackling terrorism, strengthening Europe's borders and improving disaster response.

The UK government recently identified cyber crime as one of the biggest threats to the country in its Strategic Defence Review, pledging to commit an extra £500m to tackle the problem.

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