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EU's cybersecurity budget up 14%

The European Commission fails to show conviction on fighting cybercrime

Despite vowing that fighting cybercrime is high on its agenda, the European Commission increased its planned cybersecurity budget by just 14 percent through 2020, an amount one security expert referred to as "paltry."

For the period 2007-2013, the Commission allocated ¬350 million (US$454 million) for cybersecurity research, but only added an extra ¬50 million to cover the years from 2013 to 2020, it announced Monday.

Rik Ferguson, director of security research and communication at TrendMicro, who called the 14 percent increase "paltry," said that "the commercial security industry is already pooling resources with not-for-profit organizations, and government has made much of the risk from cybercrime. It's time to make the commensurate investment."

The total ¬400 million allocated for cybersecurity will go toward funding more than half a dozen projects, including Syssec, a Europe-wide network that works on developing ways to predict threats and vulnerabilities; Nessos, which creates secure service architectures and secure service design; the SecureChange project, which tests new parts of software for any security issues; and Tclouds, which has the goal of building trustworthy clouds.

The budget must also stretch to securing data, so the Ecrypt II project brings together 32 leading research institutes, universities and companies to develop improved tools and more robust algorithms for digital signatures.

According to the Commission, around 150,000 viruses or malware are loose on the Internet at any given time, infecting more than 1 million people every day. Antivirus giant McAfee counts 75 million unique pieces of malicious malware code on its databases, with botnets spewing out spam that account for a third of all the emails sent every day. The worldwide cost of cybercrime is estimated at more than ¬750 billion annually in wasted time, lost business opportunities and the expense of fixing problems, according to the Commission.

An additional ¬450 million has been earmarked for so-called Secure Societies research, which includes aspects of cybersecurity.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

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