Recurring cyberattacks against critical infrastructures, including emergency call centres, around the world remind us about the need for better preparedness. Rescue organisations need to operate non-stop: unavailability of first response can even result in the death of people who could otherwise be saved.

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Most of the time, saving lives depend on people having access to emergency services. Therefore, ensuring continuity of service of emergency numbers is crucial. Cyberattacks are one of these threats that can have devastating effect on emergency response and emergency services should make sure to be ready to face such situation. The question is not if it will happen but when and how it will happen.

USA – Transitional 911 systems have ‘very, very broad attack surface,’ working group warns

Australia – Hackers Infiltrate Early Warning Network System to Send Spam          

Ukraine – Hackers attack website of Ukraine’s National Police, spread fake information   

UK –NHS could have avoided WannaCry hack with ‘basic IT security’, says report

preparedness is key

Cybersecurity is all about being prepared and setting up proper procedures. The human factor is extremely important.

In May 2017, EENA launched a network with the aim to bring together international experts on cybersecurity. The group helps its members learn from each other, share best practices and has come up with a first set of concrete recommendations specifically designed for emergency response organisations: Cybersecurity: Guidelines and Best Practices for Emergency Services. The group is open to both EENA members & non-members. Experts and professionals in the field are invited to join us and help shape the future of cybersecurity for emergency services.

Also, in 2020, EENA published a case study of a concrete approach, demonstrating how emergency calls handling IT systems can be made safer and resistant against cyber-attacks:                                 Cybersecurity in a PSAP – A practical approach

Cybersecurity more globally