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MEP flags need for cybersecurity research in response to Covid-19

Image: Thierry Roge, European Union 2019

Remote working exposes new vulnerabilities to hackers, warns research committee coordinator

An influential MEP in the European Parliament’s research committee has told researchers to seek out EU cybersecurity funding in response to Covid-19, saying the pandemic has left companies and universities less protected against hackers.

“Millions of Europeans…are trying to do their jobs as far as possible from home. In doing this, they use, to a large extent, less protected ICT,” Christian Ehler warned on 7 April. 

“Only a few companies, public authorities or universities are adequately prepared to operate their traditionally centralised organisational and operational structures [in a] decentralised manner for a long period of time,” he added.

Ehler, who is one of two MEPs responsible for getting legislation for the EU’s 2021-27 R&D programme Horizon Europe through the Parliament, called on scientists and developers “to use the time to look into the various EU programmes, to acknowledge their opportunities and to use them for the benefit and safety of all of us.”

He pointed to the €2.5 billion for security research the Parliament has requested from Horizon Europe, which would include support for cybersecurity studies, as well as a planned €2bn in the 2021-27 Digital Europe programme.