Cybercrime is a rapidly expanding enterprise that costs global business an estimated €285 billion a year and is worth close to €291 billion a year globally for the criminals.

Liam Aylward MEP for Ireland East, who recently questioned the European Commission on this problem, stating that given the cross border nature of these attacks, it is essential that the EU has an effective coordinated position and works together to make cyber attacks on IT systems a criminal offence punishable by law across the EU.

“There has been a steady increase in the number of cyber attacks against IT systems in Europe and citizen’s digital personal data is increasingly at risk.  Last year more than 440 Irish businesses were the victim of cybercrime, mostly hijacked by criminals to host phishing scams.”

The European Parliament has reacted to this problem and will shortly be voting on a Report on the “Judicial cooperation in criminal matters: combating attacks against information systems”. 

The European Parliament’s proposal would establish coordinated penal sanctions against perpetrators of cyber attacks against information systems which will be a significant step forward.

Welcoming this action the Ireland East MEP stated:

“Given that over a third of the EU’s 500 million citizens bank online and there is an estimated €6 trillion changing hands globally each year in e-commerce, it is essential that there is coordinated action at the EU level to ensure that large-scale and dangerous attacks against the information systems of companies, banks and the public sector are eliminated and penalised and cyber attacks on IT systems are made a criminal offence punishable by law.” 

MEPs are due to be vote on the Report on “Judicial cooperation in criminal matters: combating attacks against information systems” Report in the coming weeks.