Europe remains woefully unaware of the security risks faced by computer networks, the EC (European Commission) said today as it unveiled an awareness campaign called IT Security for Europe.

Companies, individuals and public authorities spend too little on securing their computers and networks, the EC said in a statement. Roughly five to 13 percent of IT expenditure is spent on security, which is "alarmingly low", the EC said.

"The nature of the threat is changing and so must our response," information society and media commissioner Viviane Reding said in the statement.

In the past, hackers were motivated by a desire to show off, whereas today, many threats come from criminal activities and are motivated by profit. "What we need is a renewed strategy based on dialogue, partnership and empowerment," Reding said.

The EC wants to compare national policies on network and information security to improve the dialogue between public authorities across the EU, to identify best practices and raise the security awareness of end-users.

ENISA, the European Network and Information Security Agency based in Heraklion, Greece, will be entrusted with the task of developing a data collection plan to handle security incidents and measure levels of consumer confidence from all over Europe. ENISA will also be asked to examine the feasibility of a multilingual information sharing and alert system.

In addition, the EC invited companies and national governments to play a more energetic role in enhancing network and information security.

Separately, the EC is carrying out a public consultation on the security and privacy implications of RFID (radio frequency identification) and will present its conclusions later in the year.

For more information on network security, our sister site Techworld has a comprehensive network security resource page.