Franziska Giffey inaugurated Berlin's cyber-security services , Source: ITDZ Berlin

Berlin opens a cyber-security centre to protect against increasing attacks

Berlin opens a cyber-security centre to protect against increasing attacks

Тhe local administration has to deal with 15 million cyber-attack attempts every year

On Wednesday, Berlin authorities opened a security centre against cyber-attacks as part of the Berlin IT Service Centre (ITDZ). The ‘Security Operations Centre’ is supposed to help Germany’s capital detect and ward off hacker attacks.

According to the German press agency dpa, experts would be working in the IT centre around the clock, monitoring access to the digital public system and coordinating cross-agency measures.

Germany’s biggest interconnected system

The ITDZ is a municipal IT company responsible for the digitalisation and maintenance of Berlin’s public services, as well as coming out with new solutions for citizens. Thus, a cyber-security wing of Berlin’s digital authorities only makes sense as more and more of the local administration goes online.

According to the ITDZ, there are a whopping 15 million registered digital attack attempts per year on Berlin authorities. More than 530,000 spam emails are detected every month, flooding and paralysing systems, as well as 3,000 e-mails containing harmful computer viruses. ITDZ board member Marc Böttcher explained that a lot of these attacks aim at data theft or extortion and that their frequency is increasing.

At the same time, Berlin is the home of Germany’s biggest municipal interconnected network with 1,100 kilometres of cables and tens of thousands of computers and phones. The network includes Berlin State authorities, the police, the fire brigade and the courts.

Currently, the ITDZ looks over part of it, however, with the new security centre, that should gradually change, to achieve a centralised and standardised approach to cyber security. At the same time, this would allow the digitalisation of the administration to advance, as public and private citizen information would be better protected.

The war in Ukraine is making local governments move

According to Mayor Franziska Giffey, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has also exacerbated the situation, as she put it: “The war is not only waged with analogue weapons, it is also waged online. It is also carried out with attacks on the digital infrastructure."

Interestingly, the ITDZ have said that they have not detected any targeted cyber-attacks by Russia on Berlin yet, however, they consider the threat level as raised since the situation could change at any time. They gave an example of the damages a cyber-attack can cause, citing a 2019 case when a Trojan virus paralysed the Kammergericht – the highest judicial authority in the state.



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