European Institutions Were Targeted in a Cyber-Attack Last to Last Week

According to Bloomberg, a spokesperson for the European Commission confirmed that a number of European Union organizations “experienced an IT security incident in their IT infrastructure” last week, adding that no major information breach had been detected as of yet.

A spokesperson for the commission said that a number of EU bodies “experienced an IT security incident in their IT infrastructure.” The spokesperson said forensic analysis of the incident is still in its initial phase and that it’s too early to provide any conclusive information about the nature of the attack.

“We are working closely with CERT-EU, the Computer Emergency Response Team for all EU institutions, bodies and agencies and the vendor of the affected IT solution,” the spokesperson said. “Thus far, no major information breach was detected.”

The attack was serious enough for senior officials at the commission to be alerted, according to a person familiar with the matter. The same person said the incident was bigger than the usual attacks that regularly hit the EU. Another EU official said that staff had recently been warned about potential phishing attempts.

Western institutions have uncovered at least two serious cyber-attacks recently.

Other EU orgs targeted in recent months

Last month, the European Banking Authority (EBA) had to take down all email systems after their Microsoft Exchange Servers were breached as part of the ongoing attacks targeting commercial and government organizations worldwide.

In January, the European Medicines Agency EMA said that Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine data stolen from its servers in December was leaked online. In a subsequent update, EMA revealed that some of the vaccine candidate data was doctored by threat actors before being leaked online to undermine the public’s trust in COVID-19 vaccines.

Google begins trial of new ad targeting tech

This week Google began testing its new ad targeting tech known as the Federated Learning of Cohorts FLoC with a random selection of Google Chrome users. The new tech is intended to replace cookies, assigning each user a FLoC ID number instead, which informs advertisers of the user’s behavioral patterns over the previous week, including the websites that were visited. The Chrome users participating in the trial do not know they are participating, and the only way to opt out is to turn off third-party cookies in the browser’s settings. Watchdog group Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) strongly criticizes the new tech. Read more on the EFF website. 

Arguments for and against regulating Google

Tech giant Google is embroiled in three antitrust lawsuits, including one brought by the U.S. Department of Justice which alleges the company acts like a monopoly and elbows out its competition. The Land of the Giants podcast recently devoted an episode to discussing the pros and cons of breaking up Google. According to Vox, supporters of regulating Google believe that the internet titan has amassed too much influence over daily life and the economy, and that people are essentially forced to use its products. Those against any new regulations claim that because Google’s products are largely free, they are beneficial to consumers, and tighter restrictions could stymie some of Google’s greatest innovations.