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Digital Security – strengthening Europe’s security through H2020 funded innovation solutions

29th June 2020 at 1:22 pm

Seventy-five years ago, the world was living under the threat of the Second World War, but today, we live one of the most peaceful periods in human history. There are, of course, plenty of more and less severe threats that drive individuals and governments in a state of insecurity and unrest. The current pandemic is one of these, which has been keeping many of us regularly checking infected case tickers and infection spread maps. In the meanwhile, a ticker that hasn’t stopped is that of cyber-attacks, with thousands of attacks each day. Even though there are no world wars on the horizon, cyber-attacks are invisible malware that constantly threaten the global civil security. They envisage to destroy computer networks, steal data or use a breached computer for other attacks, targeting individuals, institutions and entire countries.

Societies in Europe and elsewhere are heavily dependent on computer networks and information technology solutions that support critical infrastructures. We often take it for granted that clean water, electricity, reliable roads and health care systems are supported by digital technologies. However, a cyber-attack that manages to disrupt a nation’s electric grid, like the one that occurred in March 2019 in the West of the U.S.A. had tremendous impacts in different sectors, putting the country in total blackout and inactivity [1]. The most common types of cybersecurity attacks are phishing – aiming to steal user data such as credit card numbers and login credentials – and ransomware – blocking the access to data, which is only returned to the user upon payment of rather large sums.

The increasing trend in cyber-attacks and security data breaches reflects the frequency and sophistication of the hackers. In 2017 hackers stole about 198 million personal records, while in 2018 this figure rose to 500 million, corresponding to a 126% increase in just one year [2]. Early this year the Dutch government was responsible for one of the largest personal data breaches of March 2020, losing two external hard drives containing the personal data of more than 6.9 million organ donors and exposing their names, gender, date of birthday and medical details. In the worst case scenario these data could be used to conduct other attacks.

Also in March 2020, Ireland’s Teaching Council suffered phishing compromising the data of 9,735 serving and retired teachers and the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity confirmed that cybercriminals breached its office network. [3]

No individual, institution or country is safe from cyber-attacks, therefore the defence strategy for Europe relies on a strong EU-cooperation and knowledge sharing to gear up Europe’s digital security.

The European Commission is taking this threat very seriously, by developing policies and allocating 68.80 million euro to fund innovative solutions that ensure digital privacy, personal data protection and to strengthen the cybersecurity benefiting our entire society (Call: Digital Security – Cybersecurity, Digital Privacy and data protection [Page 81-102]).

The Digital Security call includes three topics:

The submission deadline, on the 27th August 2020, is approaching quickly and we are looking forward to help you prepare a competitive proposal.

With more than 25 years of experience in proposal writing and project management for EU projects, specialising in Horizon 2020, our highly qualified team is dedicated to assist universities, companies and other organisations across Europe in securing funding for their R&D and innovation projects. Helping our clients write competitive project proposals, smoothly negotiate contracts, efficiently manage their projects and make an impact through their research, we have so far supported 300+ clients in about 70 successful projects, including the RIA EXIMIOUS and the IA HEAT-INSYDE, among others. Our multi-disciplinary and highly qualified staff is always looking for new opportunities and exciting challenges, be it during the proposal writing stage to help maximize your proposal’s chances of success or as a partner to help ensure smooth project management and/or effective communication and dissemination.

[1] https://www.secureworldexpo.com/industry-news/first-u.s.-power-grid-attack-details

[2] https://www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/you-ve-been-breached-hackers-stole-nearly-half-billion-personal-n966496

[3] https://www.itgovernance.eu/blog/en/cyber-attacks-and-data-breaches-in-review-march-2020

[4] https://www.securitymagazine.com/articles/87787-hackers-attack-every-39-seconds

[5] https://www.techrepublic.com/article/forrester-what-can-we-learn-from-a-disastrous-year-of-hacks-and-breaches/

[6] https://www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/you-ve-been-breached-hackers-stole-nearly-half-billion-personal-n966496

[7] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/03/technology/yahoo-hack-3-billion-users.html

[8] https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/report-reveals-healthcare-industry-lacking-in-basic-security-awareness-among-staff-putting-entire-medical-infrastructure-at-risk-300352485.html

[9] https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2018/11/09/how-not-to-waste-a-trillion-dollars-on-cybersecurity/#5786d1c0df9a