Brussels attacks: EU counter-terrorism coordinator fears cyber attacks

Gilles de Kerchove fears that nuclear plants may be the target of cyber-attacks. He was appointed coordinator in the fight against terrorism in 2007. Before he joined the European Commission, he worked in the Belgian government where he became chief of staff in different ministries.

His main tasks are to coordinate the work of the Council in combating terrorism, propose policy recommendations to the Council, based on threat analysis, and monitor the implementation of the EU counter-terrorism strategy.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if there will be attempts to use the Internet for attacks in five years from now,” he said in an interview for La Libre Belgique according to the news agency Belga. “Possible targets are data and management centers of nuclear plants, dams, air traffic controls and railway switches.”

He fears that “new technologies will allow a single individual to commit a major attack.”

Asked about Belgium’s capacity in cybersecurity, he doubted that the government can “foresee and resolve major attacks.”

In an interview in September 2015 for EurActiv, Gilles de Kerchove was asked if anti-terrorism cooperation among EU member states was working well or could be improved.

 “You can always improve,” he said then, “but member states have made a lot of efforts during the last three years because of the crisis of foreign fighting.”

 “We need to make better use of the tools we have, not necessarily to invent new tools – except that we would like to secure an agreement on the PNR (Passenger Name Record) directive. There is still room for improvement in the way we use Europol and the Schengen Information System (SIS), because we need fluid information sharing.”

The Brussels Times

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