German cybersecurity office BSI issues dire threat warning
Germany's Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) released its annual threat report Thursday, sounding the alarm over risks presented by computer viruses and ransomware attacks.
Speaking in Berlin alongside Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, BSI President Arne Schönbohm said his agency had detected 144 million new malware variants between June 2020 to the end of May 2021 — up 22% for the year.
The Bonn-based BSI, which is part of the Interior Ministry, said that in February of this year it detected 553,000 malware variants in a single day — a new record. Its report noted that it had raised the general threat level posed by malicious computer attacks from "tense" last year to "tense-to-critical."
At Thursday's presentation, BSI President Schönbohm said some parts of the digital realm had experienced threat level "red." The reason, he said, was the increasing professionalism of cybercriminals combined with the networked composition of society and the ever-expanding possibilities presented to criminals in terms of software security vulnerabilities.
The issue of cybersecurity also touches on a key conflict facing governments and tech companies, namely the argument on one side for personal data protection and the desire to create software that cannot be exploited; and on the other, the need to leave some security breaches open in order for states to catch criminals. Nevertheless, the conundrum is that criminals are just as keen to exploit security breaches as agencies are.