More than 40,000 firms could be required to report cyber-break-ins under new rules proposed by the EU.

EU Digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes said that Europe needed to improve how it dealt with cybersecurity, said the BBC News. But firms are concerned that reporting online attacks and security breaches might damage their reputations, it said.

Under the proposals, each country would have to appoint a Computer Emergency Response Team and create an authority to whom companies would report breaches, said the BBC. These new bodies would decide whether to make the breaches public and whether to fine companies.

Announcing the changes, Kroes said: "Europe needs resilient networks and systems and failing to act would would impose significant costs on consumers, businesses and society."

According to the EU, only one in four European companies has a regularly-reviewed, formal ICT security policy. Even among ICT companies, the figure is only one in two, it said.