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A group of EU states including Britain and the Baltic countries is pushing the bloc to slap sanctions on cyber attackers, as Europe seeks to strengthen its electronic defences.
Eight countries are calling for the urgent creation of a legal framework to hit hackers, warning that a lack of tough action leaves the impression that cyber attacks would go unpunished.
Move - Concern - Russia - Malign - Cyber
The move comes amid growing concern at Russia's alleged malign cyber activities, with Western powers blaming Moscow for numerous acts of hacking and electronic interference.
This month the Netherlands revealed dramatic details of a bid by Russia's GRU military intelligence agency to hack the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague.
EU - Proposal - AFP - Britain - Lithuania
The confidential EU proposal seen by AFP, backed by Britain, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Denmark, Finland, Romania and the Netherlands warns that "the pace of events has accelerated considerably".
"This context makes the introduction of such a regime a pressing priority," the text says, urging EU leaders to formally back the proposal at their summit in Brussels this week.
Paper - Matter - Time - Operation - Consequences
The paper warns it is "only a matter of time before we are hit by a critical operation with severe consequences on the EU".
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius told AFP that evidence from NATO...
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