According to Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), the country faces a grave and growing threat as society becomes more digitally connected and criminals more sophisticated. The BSI said threat levels have reached red alarm levels.

Threat level increased

BSI published their annual report “The State of IT Security in Germany in 2021.” It highlights that the biggest risks come from malware and ransomware attacks. In fact, the agency detected 144 million new malware variants between June 2020 to the end of May 2021 — up 22% for the year. In February 2021, BSI detected 553,000 malware variants in a single day — a new record. The report notes that it had subsequently raised the general threat level posed by malicious computer attacks from “tense” in 2020 to “tense-to-critical.”

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The reason for this increased alert level is the increasing professionalism of cybercriminals combined with the networked composition of society.

“The significant increase of remote working led to a substantial growth of the attack surface in terms of interconnecting services and hardware provided and used. This trend consequently facilitated the possible exploitation of security flaws for cybercriminal campaigns,” noted a joint report by French ANSSI and Germany’s BSI.

The trend of growing cyber criminality has been turbocharged by the coronavirus pandemic as more business and government employees work remotely. The report makes clear that cyber-attacks have not only become more prevalent but have also become more costly. Bitkom, an IT-industry association, estimated that losses from blackmail and system outages have risen 358% since 2019.

Criminals are not only working for themselves, according to the BSI. They are also selling their services on the dark net. They have become more sophisticated in their approach along the way, using multi-level attack strategies previously seen in instances of state espionage. (Read more...)