German military to introduce cyber command amid rising threats
Fri 31 Mar 2017
The German military is to establish a new cyber command in an effort to bolster defences and tackle growing threats against its networks.
A high-value target for hackers, the military registered 284,000 complex and professional attempted breaches in the first two months of 2017. While no damage was incurred, the ministry said that attacks are on the rise and becoming ever-more advanced.
It was also reported that the German Federal Office for Information Security is on high alert in the lead up to the 2017 parliamentary elections. National authorities are also concerned that Russian cyberattacks may interfere with the election process.
The Cyber and Information Space Command will launch in April and will be introduced by Defence Minister Ursula Von der Leyen in a presentation delivered at the ministry’s headquarters in Bonn.
The command unit will initially comprise 260 staff, growing to around 13,500 military and civilian employees by July when the current strategic reconnaissance command and centres for operational communication and geoinformation are folded in. By 2021, the command will grow to a total of 14,500 positions.
The new unit, headed up by Lieutenant General Ludwig Leinhos, will be tasked with protecting all military networks, as well as digitally-controlled weapons. It will become the military’s sixth major wing – joining the navy, army, air force, medical services and joint forces.
‘The expansion of cyber capabilities is an essential contribution to the government’s overall security posture, and offers additional opportunities for preventing conflicts and dealing with crises to include hybrid threats,’ commented the ministry spokesman.
As cyberattacks against military organisations are increasing worldwide, many are now creating dedicated command units to confront the issue. Last summer, NATO agreed to set up an official cyber operation alongside its air, land and sea units. The organisation said at the time that it had seen a five-fold increase in suspicious activities on its networks over the last three years.