Cyber-attacks against states, ransomware paralysing hospitals, spying on civil society organisations: Malicious cyber-operations have become ubiquitous. Their purpose, to harm, sabotage, blackmail and spy on states, businesses and private individuals. Which actors are the most dangerous? Which states are they connected to? What is the political context? Which technical tools are used, and where? How can we track the growing number and diversity of global incidents? And how should the European Union respond?
The objective of the European Repository of Cyber Incidents is to systematically record global cyber incidents of relevance to Europe and to assist in the process of producing assessments for political, academic and civil-society decision-makers. The project centres around an open-access database accessed through an interactive dashboard. The dashboard supports evidence-based analysis of large-scale cyber attacks and enables political, technical and legal comparisons. It is open to all and represents an important contribution to the EU’s cyber diplomacy.
Reports on cyber-incidents are gathered in a computerised system and subjected to multi-stage human coding. The recorded incidents are classified into sixty different political, legal and technical categories. This allows users to compare various technical aspects, legal implications and political reactions to individual incidents, and to identify trends. The categories provide answers to questions like: Who was attacked, when, how and by whom? What repercussions did the attack have? To whom was it attributed? And when, how and by whom? The database builds on open-source data and is open-access. It already covers more than 1,400 incidents.
The team comprises researchers from Universität Heidelberg (Germany), Universität Innsbruck (Austria), Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (Germany) and the Cyber Policy Institute (Estonia). It is an interdisciplinary European project, complementing information science with social science and law.
The project is funded for two years from March 2022 by the coordinating group for cyber–foreign policy at the German Foreign Office and by the Danish Foreign Ministry. It is planned to bring in additional European project partners and funders as the project proceeds.
Universität Heidelberg, Institut für Politische Wissenschaft (Consortium Lead Organisation)
Kim Schuck (Project Coordinator)
Universität Innsbruck, Institut für Theorie und Zukunft des Rechts
Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik
Cyber Policy Institute