Tuesday 5 July 2016 3:50 pm

European Commission approves new cyber security initiative and funding

The European Commission wants EU member states to work together on cyber security. 

The European Union's executive body has signed an agreement that'll have member states funding and working together with private groups to prevent cyber attacks. 

There have been repeated warnings over the vulnerability of both private and public institutions in recent months. And it seems we're our own worst enemy when it comes to digital safety

Businesses, universities, as well as other researchers are in line for €450m (£383m) of funding in coming years to investigate pressing cyber security issues. 

Read more: Hire a hacker – Cyber security needs some fresh ideas

The commission says the measure is designed to "nurture cyber security industrial capabilities and innovation in the EU".

The recently formed European Cyber Security Organisation will decide where funds will be directed, with the a first call for proposals expected in early 2017.

The commission expects private sources will end up investing three times the initial €450m of public contributions by 2020, bringing total funding to €1.8bn.

The partnership is also aiming to tackle fragmentation within Europe’s existing cyber security market by looking into establishing a continent-wide certification framework.

The framework should allow products and services to be certified once and then offered in any member state, speeding up adoption times.

Gunther Oettinger, EU commissioner for the digital economy and society, said: 

Europe needs high quality, affordable and interoperable cybersecurity products and services. There is a major opportunity for our cybersecurity industry to compete in a fast-growing global market. 

We call on Member States and all cybersecurity bodies to strengthen cooperation and pool their knowledge, information and expertise to increase Europe's cyber resilience.

The announcement came as BT and KPMG warned over the growing threat of cyber crime

A report from the two companies found that 97 percent of respondents have experienced a cyber attack, with half of them reporting an increase in the last two years.

Read more: Seven things we've discovered so far this year about cyber security

According to a Eurobarometer survey published in February 2015, Europeans are highly concerned about cyber security, with 89 per cent of all internet users avoid disclosing personal information online.

Meanwhile, 85 per cent agree that the risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime is increasing.

The EC has put together this infographic on cyber threats: