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What's Next For Cybersecurity Regulations?

No one needs further convincing on the need to tackle cybercrime with regulation.

As high-profile data breaches become commonplace, companies are preparing for a spate of regulation with government agencies realizing that it might be time to intervene.

Last week saw two big breaches of telecom companies: the TalkTalk breach, which exposed the information of nearly 1.2 million accounts, and Vodafone, where close to 2,000 accounts were compromised. The British police’s arrest of two teenagers in connection to the TalkTalk attack drives home computer security consultant Graham Cluley’s stand that cybercriminals are raised early. “Hackers start young these days — possibly partly because of ethical immaturity,” he was quoted as saying to Financial Times.

Regulation is essential, but how effective will it be?

The U.S. Senate last week approved the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), and the bill will now be reconciled with two similar measures that passed the House earlier this year. The idea of CISA is to urge companies to share information on threats and data breaches with the government to receive immunity from lawsuits for doing so.

While the U.S. looks to protect companies, Europe is a lot tougher on this front. With regulations being negotiated in Brussels, the European Parliament and 28 member states are working to come up with a set of data protection rules that might penalize businesses that suffer data breaches.

Of the proposed measures is a fine of up to 5 percent of their global turnover or €100 million (whichever is bigger) for a privacy breach.

While both the approaches are distinctly different, the impact of the breaches on European companies trails the U.S., with the average hack costing a British business $6.3 million, compared to $15 million in the U.S.

Security software firm Trend Micro predicts that 2016 will witness a global consolidated effort towards tackling cybercrime. “This year, the cloak of anonymity that hid underground forums was removed, allowing law enforcement agencies to take down the hacking forum Darkode,” the report stated. “2016 will see a significant shift in the mindset of governments and regulators to take on an even more active role in protecting the Internet and safeguarding its users.”

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