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New initiatives, laying the ground for the transformation of the connectivity sector in the EU

27 February 2023
Knowledge Base

The Commission has presented a set of actions aimed to make Gigabit connectivity available to all citizens and businesses across the EU by 2030, in line with the objectives of Europe’s Digital Decade, and to enable the transformation of the connectivity sector in the EU. The recent initiatives on Connectivity consist of: First, the Commission has adopted a proposal for a ‘Gigabit Infrastructure Act’, a regulation that will put forward new rules to enable faster, cheaper and more effective rollout of Gigabit networks across the EU. Second, it has published a draft Gigabit Recommendation, which seeks to provide guidance to National Regulatory Authorities on the conditions of access to telecom networks of operators with significant market power, in order to incentivise faster switch-off of legacy technologies and accelerated Gigabit networks deployment. Third, the Commission has launched an exploratory consultation on the future of the connectivity sector and its infrastructure, to gather views on how increasing demands for connectivity and technological advances may affect the future developments and needs. Continue reading…

New strike against encrypted criminal communications with dismantling of Exclu tool

09 February 2023
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Judicial and law enforcement authorities in the Netherlands and Germany have dealt another blow to the use of encrypted communications by criminal networks. Eurojust and Europol have supported the dismantling of the Exclu application, which had an estimated 3 000 users, including members of organised crime groups (OCGs). During an action day last week, 45 arrests took place in the Netherlands and Belgium. The arrested persons included users of the application, but also administrators and owners of the Exclu service. Furthermore, 79 locations were searched in the Netherlands, Germany and Poland. Following this operation, the service is no longer available for users.

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Commission proposes new rules on Advance Passenger Information to facilitate external border management and increase internal security

22 December 2022
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On 13 December, the Commission proposed new rules to strengthen the use of Advance Passenger Information (API) data. This proposal is one of the key actions identified in the EU Security Union Strategy. The EU continues its progress in strengthening its overall security architecture, which aims to enhance EU citizens’ protection, as shown also in the Fifth Security Union Progress Report. The report highlights three years of solid progress in implementing the Security Union Strategy. It shows that significant steps have been made in strengthening the protection of critical infrastructures from physical, cyber and hybrid attacks, in fighting terrorism and radicalisation, as well as in the fight against organised crime. Continue reading…

EU greenlights 40 new guarantee programmes under the European Fund for Sustainable Development plus

19 December 2022
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The Operational Board of the European Fund for Sustainable Development plus (EFSD+) has today given a positive opinion to €6.05 billion in financial guarantees to support 40 investment programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin American and Asia Pacific. The guarantees are expected to generate more than €50 billion in investments in key sectors of Global Gateway, such as renewable energy, digital infrastructure and climate resilience and health. The package also includes a new green bond programme. The programmes will be implemented by European Financial Institutions, such as the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and national development banks. In total, 20 financial partners participate in the EFSD+ guarantee programme, seven of which for the first time. The EFSD+ is a financing tool of Global Gateway, and the financing arm of the EU’s Neighbourhood Development, International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) – Global Europe. It de-risks investments with budgetary guarantees and thus attracts more private investment to emerging and developing country markets.
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Action against criminal website that offered ‘spoofing’ services to fraudsters: 142 arrests

05 December 2022
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Judicial and law enforcement authorities in Europe, Australia, the United States, Ukraine and Canada have taken down a website that allowed fraudsters to impersonate trusted corporations or contacts to access sensitive information from victims, a type of cybercrime known as ‘spoofing’. The website is believed to have caused an estimated worldwide loss in excess of GBP 100 million (EUR 115 million). In a coordinated action led by the United Kingdom and supported by Eurojust and Europol, 142 suspects have been arrested, including the main administrator of the website.

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CPMI and IOSCO report on financial market infrastructures’ cyber resilience

02 December 2022
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The Bank for International Settlements’ Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI) and the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) has on November 29th published an assessment showing reasonably high adoption of their Cyber Guidance by FMIs. The report – Implementation monitoring of the PFMI: Level 3 assessment on Financial Market Infrastructures’ Cyber Resilience – presents the results of an assessment of the state of cyber resilience (as of February 2021) at 37 FMIs from 29 jurisdictions that participated in this exercise in 2020–22. The Level 3 assessment covered all FMI types, ie, systemically important payment systems (PSs), central securities depositories (CSDs), securities settlement systems (SSSs), central counterparties (CCPs), and trade repositories (TRs).  Continue reading…

Is Binance partially to blame for the near collapse of FTX? Social media market manipulation has reared its ugly head once again

28 November 2022
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In the wake of the news that crypto exchange FTX is on the brink of collapse, Matt Smith, CEO and co-founder of compliance technology and data analytics firm, SteelEye made some comments about the part Binance played in FTX’s fall from grace: “The digital assets market has been rocked – once again – by the near collapse of one of the sector’s leading players, FTX. Despite huge inflows of investment, FTX was reckoning with a “liquidity crunch”. Surging withdrawals – reportedly amounting to $6 billion in just three days – plummeted the crypto exchange’s valuation, and FTT, FTX’s native coin, collapsed by 72% in just 24 hours.” Continue reading…

DORA: The forthcoming EU legal framework on Digital Operational Resilience in the financial sector

24 November 2022
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On 10 November 2022, the European Parliament adopted the Digital Operational Resilience Act. DORA is an EU regulation that sets out to establish a uniform and comprehensive framework for the digital operational resilience of the financial sector. Nearly all regulated financial entities are in scope of DORA. They will have to put in place sufficient safeguards to protect against cyber and other ICT risks, in their internal processes but also in their existing and new contracts with ICT service providers. Continue reading…

FSB makes proposals to achieve greater convergence in cyber incident reporting

23 November 2022
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The Financial Stability Board (FSB) has published a consultative document on Achieving Greater Convergence in Cyber Incident Reporting. Timely and accurate information on cyber incidents is crucial for effective incident response and recovery and promoting financial stability. The proposals take a comprehensive approach and include: Continue reading…

Commission proposes to accelerate the rollout of instant payments in euro

01 November 2022
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The Commission has on 26 October adopted a legislative proposal to make instant payments in euro, available to all citizens and businesses holding a bank account in the EU and in EEA countries. The proposal aims to ensure that instant payments in euro are affordable, secure, and processed without hindrance across the EU. Instant payments allow people to transfer money at any time of any day within ten seconds. This is much faster compared to traditional credit transfers, which are received by payment service providers only during business hours and arrive at the payee’s account only by the following business day, which could take up to three calendar days. Instant payments significantly increase speed and convenience for consumers, for example when paying bills or receiving urgent transfers (e.g. in case of medical emergency). Continue reading…