Cyber Threats to National Security
18.11.2022Back to blog list
National Cybersecurity: this is how the cyber threat has intensified
Hacker attacks, theft of data, ransomware attacks and other cyber threats – what is the current situation with threat and security in cyberspace? Cybersecurity experts provide answers and enlightening information on the burning issues of cybersecurity and its effect on national security. The joint conclusion: the situation in cyberspace has worsened, and it cannot but worry.
Cyber Attacks: Bitter Reality
Cyber attacks have long since ceased to be fiction and have become reality. Countries with strong economies and liberal democracies are often targeted by the perpetrators.
The spectrum of threats is wide: personal data is stolen, companies are spied on, important infrastructures are damaged, or communication channels of politicians and governments are manipulated.
But what drives the perpetrators? On the one hand, cybercrime is a lucrative business. Perpetrators today sometimes make more money than in the international drug trade. On the other hand, many cyber attacks are politically motivated.
The increasing popularity of online services also attracts many criminals. They try to obtain confidential data such as passwords, access data or credit card numbers via fake e-mails and websites. These attempts are also known as phising attempts. Personal data such as passwords, addresses or birth dates are either used by the criminals themselves or sold for a lot of money on the black market.
Life without a computer, tablet or smartphone? Hardly imaginable. However, increasing digital mobility and networking also brings security threats and cyber risks. Targeted cyber attacks against users, companies and even governments have increased rapidly.
The malware is so sophisticated that even the latest anti-virus programs can do nothing against it. And the detection rate is low because the attacks are well disguise, and the originator can almost never be identified. That is why numerous authorities are working together nationally and internationally to combat the dangers posed by electronic attacks.
Ransomware, data theft, and other security threats on the rise
Cyber criminals are located all over the world and attack computer systems, targeting critical infrastructure, sensitive information. Their cyber attacks are often politically motivated or simply criminal. The perpetrators hijack sensitive data and extort a ransom – a so-called ransomware attack.
- Ransomware is a species of malware that restricts or prevents access to data and systems.
- A ransom is then demanded for the release.
- Such a malicious program completely blocks access to the system or it encrypts certain user data.
- Ransomware that targets Windows computers is particularly widespread. However, all operating systems and stored information can be attacked by ransomware.
These types of cyber attacks have increased with the corresponding consequences for security and affected parties. According to the Economic Protection Report. The Federal Criminal Police Office has registered a total of 150,000 cybercrimes for 2021, with damage amounting to 223.5 billion euros. And these are only the cases that have been reported.
Utility service providers such as electricity suppliers, banks, transport companies or hospitals are increasingly dependent on functioning information and communications technology. Such organizations and facilities are therefore also referred to as critical infrastructure" and are particularly targeted by cyber-terrorists. If these infrastructures are attacked, this has serious consequences for everyone.
Just recently, a previously unthinkable scenario has become reality: a double click on an email attachment triggered a cyber attack. A link was used to transfer infected software that was intended to spread in the system and encrypt data.
Cybercrime knows no borders
Cybercrime is a global problem that knows neither national borders nor personal border. Wherever people use computers and smartphones, security attacks can happen. Since the perpetrators perform attacks from almost anywhere in the world, traces are difficult to follow.
The professionalism and hacking skills of the perpetrators are improving, and the number of malware programs is increasing. According to estimates by the German Federal Office for Information Security, there were over 560 million types of malicious programs in 2018.
Focus of cyber spies: politics and business
Not only private individuals can fall victim of cyber criminals and attacks from cyber space. Federal authorities, politicians and commercial enterprises are also under attack. Successful espionage attacks can result in immense financial and economic damage.
Consequences of cyber attacks for citizens
Last week in Darmstadt, hackers attacked an IT service provider. They also stole sensitive data, paralyzed the computer system and demanded a ransom. Of course, this cyber attack affected many customers of the service provider: energy companies, transport companies. The consequences for many citizens were noticeable: as the ticket machines failed, many local trains were delayed and digital customer centers collapsed.
Small and medium-sized companies in particular have failed to invest in cybersecurity, but this is urgently needed. Cybersecurity is elementary for the digital transformation. The topic of cybersecurity must be considered a priority and addressed on a national level, in politics, business and society.
Federal government wants to invest in cybersecurity
After all, federal ministries assure that investments in cyber security are to continue to rise sharply.
This involves protection from possible security attacks on critical infrastructure, industrial espionage and cyber warfare. Cyber security is also a task for every individual.
Home offices and the integration of private end devices into company systems is apparently another problem and a source of security threats. Unfortunately, many private individuals do not take adequate protective measures.
Cyber security is a task for the whole state
Countries need a forward-looking cyber security policy to take advantage of the enormous opportunities and potential offered by digitization.
This task can only be tackled jointly and across ministries. That is why various ministries and government organizations are working closely together in the fight against cyber threats.