EU Internet Watchdog Will Live Till 2012 says EC

The European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) was supposed to be dismantled in 2009 but due to the current security situation, the European parliament is set to to extend its life expectancy by another three years tomorrow.

The entity, which acts as a data gatherer, analytical and advisory body in the field of Network and information security, came to fruition in 2004 after a four-year gestation period and has been granted around GBP 20 million since its launch.

The commission says that the rise of foreign threats, cybercrime and attacks - such as the one that brought Estonia to a stand still - meant that the role of ENISA is more critical than ever before.

Still, the fact that ENISA potentially has three years to go before wrapping up combined with a lack of funding and fewer than 50 staff members means that the agency is facing an uphill battle to prepare member states should to face any future internet attacks.

Ulf Bergstrom, Press and Comms Officer at ENISA, sent us a few words to clarify the Agency's position.

"ENISA does not have an operational role in terms of prosecution or the operational phase of fighting cyber attacks: thus, it does not chase cyber criminals, nor does it operate in the case of on ongoing attack.

Our mission and remit, according to our regulation, is to provide expert advice, to the EU and its Member States. This entails e.g. supporting the Member States in building up their 'digital fire brigades' the Computer Emergency Response Teams that deal with cyber attacks. So it is in the preparatory phase, before an attack occurs, ENISA has a role.

ENISA had, among others, assisted Estonia in building up their CERT, so that they successfully could fight back the attack. Without a CERT they would have been much worse off. In 2005, there were only CERTs 8 in EU Member States, today with the ENISA assistance the figure is 14, and 10 more to come in the next one-or two years."