Germany Launches Cyber Defense Center

Germany launched a national cyber defense center whose primary task will be to protect critical computer infrastructure from cyber attacks.

The Nationale Cyber-Abwehrzentrum (National Cyber-Defense Center) is based in Bonn in the same building as the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI).

For now, it has ten permanent employees and represents a joint effort between the BSI, the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BKK) and the Federal Office for Protection of the Constitution (BFV).

Other agencies, like the German Federal Police, the Federal Intelligence Service and the Armed Forces will join the effort in the upcoming months.

"At the heart of cyber-security is the protection of critical infrastructures," said Federal Interior Minister Friedrich. Organizations and agencies with important significance for the community are part of this infrastructure.

"Stuxnet and the most recent example of the hacker attack on the French nuclear company EDF (Electricité de France) have shown that IT systems represent critical infrastructure in the context of cyber-attacks," he added.

The Interior Ministry announced a sharp rise in cyber attacks against critical infrastructure last year, nearly doubling in number compared to 2009. China is seen a major player in this area.

"To successfully protect critical infrastructures against attacks, we focus on prevention, response and early warning. We have been doing this for several years in various ways within the federal government.

"However, the attacks are increasing in complexity and are exceeding the responsibility of individual authorities. Therefore, the establishing of the National Cyber-Defense Center is an important step for the advancement of cyber-security in Germany," said BSI president and Cyber-Defense Center spokesperson Michael Hange.

Germany follows the lead of other countries that have already set up similar centers, like UK's Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC) and the US Cyber Command. Countries like India or Estonia have also announced plans to set up cyber defense units.

Last month China launched a cyber defense program which aims to protect the country's critical networks against cyber attacks and also to establish a cyber training program for army officers.

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