Cybersecurity Act Introduces Cybersecurity Certification and Strengthens EU’s Cybersecurity Agency
10 September 2019
2018-Max_Planck_Herr_Wahl_1355_black white_Zuschnitt.jpg Thomas Wahl

On 7 June 2019, the EU added another piece of cybersecurity legislation: the “Cybersecurity Act” (= Regulation (EU) 2019/881); it was published in the Official Journal L 151, p. 15. It introduces a framework for European Cybersecurity Certificates and reinforces the mandate of the EU Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA). The Regulation had been proposed by the Commission as part of the “cybersecurity package” following the State of the Union Address by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in 2017 (see eucrim 3/2017, pp. 110-111).

It is clarified that this Regulation is without prejudice to the competences of the Member States regarding activities concerning public security, defence, national security, and the activities of the State in areas of criminal law.

The EU Cybersecurity Certification Framework is an internal market measure that lays down the main horizontal requirements for the development of European cybersecurity certification schemes. The mechanism attests that ICT products, ICT services, and ICT processes that have been evaluated in accordance with such schemes comply with specified security requirements for the purpose of, e.g., protecting the availability, authenticity, integrity or confidentiality of stored or transmitted or processed data.

Several advantages are expected from the new certification framework:

  • Citizens/end users: increase in trust in digital products, because they can be sure that everyday devices/services are cyber-secure;
  • Vendors and providers of products/services (including SMEs and start-ups): first, cost and time savings, because they must undergo the certification process only once, and the certificate is valid throughout the entire EU; second, the label can be used to make products/services more attractive for buyers/users, as they are labelled “cyber secure”;
  • Governments: better equipped to make informed purchase decisions.

Certification schemes established under the new EU framework are voluntary, i.e., vendors/providers can themselves decide whether they want their products/services to be certified. The Cybersecurity Act foresees, however, that the Commission will assess the mechanism and reflect on whether specific European cybersecurity certification schemes should become mandatory.

The Cybersecurity Act changes ENISA’s mandate from a temporary one into a permanent one. ENISA will also receive more staff and money in order to fulfil its tasks. Current tasks, such as supporting policy development and the implementation of cybersecurity acts (e.g., the NIS Directive) and capacity building will be strengthened. New tasks have been added; ENISA will play a key role in implementing the Union’s policy on cybersecurity certification. ENISA will also play a greater role in promoting cooperation and coordination on matters related to cybersecurity. Ultimately, it will be an independent centre of expertise on cybersecurity.