Germany debuts Europe's first cybersecurity plan

Germany has launched its National Plan for the Protection of the Information Infrastructures, one of the first national cybersecurity plans in Europe.

Federal Interior Minister Otto Schily announced the plan Aug. 19, along with a report from Germany's IT security office, known as the BSI, showing that cybersecurity threats against the nation's computer systems continue to grow and defenses against future threats are inadequate.

BSI will be the lead agency implementing the national plan, working with both government and private-sector agencies, Schily said.

"The report makes clear that the endangerment of national information infrastructures increased substantially [and] requires further preventive measures," said Schily, according to a news release.

Threats in the form of viruses, worms and spam, along with new technologies such as voice over IP, wireless local area networks and digital radios are creating more opportunities for attacks, Schily said.

In the second half of 2004, more than 1,400 new IT weak points were discovered?an increase of 13 percent in comparison to the same period in 2003, Schily said. More than 7,300 new worms and viruses were uncovered in the same period.

"The aggressors became ever faster," Schily said. The period between discovery of a system IT weak point and its exploitation is currently 6.4 days and falling, as more professional hackers and organized crime groups become involved, he added.

Schily said government and private sector uses must work together to protect IT. "Only with a new safety culture, carried by all social groups in Germany, can the basic conditions for safe and reliable information technology be improved," Schily said.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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