SOFIA, BULGARIA — European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel here on Friday said ensuring cyber security and developing IT skills are crucial for the digitalization of the European Union (EU).
“Security is a top priority for European citizens, but digitization adds one more dimension to it — cyber security,” Gabriel said while addressing a conference on e-government.
According to the EU Directive on Security of Network and Information Systems, which has to be implemented by May 9 this year, all member states should have a computer security incident response team working around the clock in order to react as quickly as possible against cyber attacks, Gabriel said.
“I dare to say that this is one of the biggest challenges,” she said.
The WannaCry ransomware attack last May, which affected hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide, was a wonderful example of what could happen with personal data in many sensitive areas, Gabriel said.
The attack happened on Friday, and the truth was that, due to the lack of departments that work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, many EU member states did not react until Monday, she said.
In addition, according to the general regulation on personal data protection, consumers would be alerted within a specified timeframe when an attack occurs, Gabriel said.
The possibility of this attack being targeted at departments where administrative information is kept should not be ignored, she said.
Meanwhile, the development of digital skills should be the number one priority for all, because “if we do not invest in people’s skills, we will not be able to take advantage of the benefits of the digital transformation,” Gabriel said.
“Currently, the numbers are more than scary,” she said.
“Eighty million Europeans can not use the Internet. The risk to these people of more poverty, more social exclusion, more fragmentation and polarization in our society is very high,” Gabriel said.
“One hundred and sixty-nine million Europeans do not have basic digital skills, and we already know that after 2020, 90 percent of jobs will require basic digital skills,” she added.