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An article on thinkmoney yesterday outlined the importance of staying safe online - as bank account takeover is an increasingly common form of identity theft. For example, in 2011 web-based attacks increased by 36%.

Experts from the World Economic Forum estimate that in the next decade, there's a 10% risk of a major 'critical information infrastructure incident'. If a cyber-attack actually happened on this scale, there could be a lot of disruption for millions of people and businesses in Europe - as well as an estimated €200 billion of damage to the EU economy.

Now banks are recognising the importance of being ready for a variety of cyber-attacks in Cyber Europe 2012. Across the EU they are testing their readiness in a simulation along with governments, telecoms companies and internet service providers. 400 experts are taking part in total. There was a similar exercise in 2010, but this one is much bigger.

They'll be tested in a simulated DDoS (distributed denial of service) campaign, which will see how they'd respond and co-operate if such an attack happened. Key findings from this exercise will be issued in a report by the end of this year.

Neelie Kroes, European Commission vice-president, said: "This is the first time banks and internet companies have been part of an EU-wide cyber-attack exercise. This cooperation is essential given the growing scale and sophistication of cyber-attacks. Working together at European level to keep the internet and other essential infrastructures running is what today's exercise is all about.

An expert from thinkmoney added: "Banks and other companies are making sure that they'd be ready for a wide-scale cyber-attack. It's still important that you take steps to protect your bank account's security, however. Read our guide: 'Being safe online: how not to fall foul of fraudsters' for more tips and information."

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