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BSI President Lange told reporters while presenting his 2011 report that cyber security problems are growing in Germany (Photo: BSI)

A government agency that monitors dangers to IT users painted a dismal picture of IT security in Germany, saying cyber attacks are on the rise and many of them are becoming more sophisticated.

The Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) said in a report on IT security that a range of software-driven assaults on private persons and companies create growing problems for IT managers in the country.

"Since the last report on the situation in 2009, things have intensified," said BSI President Michael Hange. He cited systemic weakness in computer and software systems that have come to light because of targeted cyber attacks such as the one using the Stuxnet malware.

The 2011 report said:

  • the vulnerabilities in software are increasing
  • so-called drive-by exploits, which use manipulated Web sites, are on the rise
  • Botnets, which take over computers unbeknownst to their owners, have increased "massively"
  • Identity theft has been professionalized by criminal organizations
  • And malware is more easily available.
The BSI also said it expects more assaults on mobile end user devices. "Danger lies in the lack of security in GSM interfaces," the report said.

The one positive note in the report was a decline in spam email. But the BSI noted that spam still makes up 96.1 pc of all e-mails and it warned that "content of spam e-mails is becoming more convincing."