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European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA)

Security in the online world is essential for the internet to realise its economic potential - but experts agree that there is no simple solution to a problem that has multiple dimensions: technological, societal, economic and psychological.

The European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA), based in Heraklion, Greece, classifies threats on the internet according to when experts think they will materialise, in 'current', 'emerging' and 'future' risks. ENISA describes itself as "a Centre of Excellence for the EU member states and EU institutions in network and information security, giving expert advice and recommendations".

Current risks are relevant within the coming year. As of summer 2007, this concerns: Spam, botnets, phishing, identity theft, route hijacking, instant messaging, peer-to-peer systems, malware on Cell Phones, hackers in stock markets, software vulnerabilities and lack of protection (e.g. antivirus) in some devices.

Emerging and future risks, according to ENISA, are likely to arise from the ubiquity of IT systems and unlimited reliance on them. This includes the increased automation of homes and the possibility of controlling home appliances remotely, such as heating or air conditioning over the internet and possiby even the use of vulnerabilities in home appliances to attack public infrastructures (e.g. distributed denial-of-service attacks on electricity networks using internet-controlled heating or air-conditioning).

Major risks may also arise from invisible data collection in public places (e.g. toll collection systems, surveillance cameras and consumer tracking) as well as in private premises (e.g. the retention of telecommunications data and the storage of user data by internet search engine operators), and on portable devices such as mobile phones.

European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA)

Available on the website since September 17, 2007