Cybercrime has been on the rise as is the size of people or groups committing those crimes. This poses a great threat to many firms and company and countries as a whole around the globe. It is just an epitome of old crimes but this time around through a new medium, and a quirky set-up all on its own with the aid of the internet and the rate at which cyber crime is increasing now seemingly points to the fact that it is not stopping anytime sooner.
Germany, among the most digitally advanced countries in the world, is experiencing an alarming the rate in the growth of cybercrime. This has prompted the German authorities with Germany’s top police official calling for tougher laws and rules to tackle cybercrime.
In an interview published on Saturday, he stated that the use of the illegal internet (the Darknet) as well as other organized criminal structures, to organize such crimes should be eliminated.
The president of the Federal Criminal Police Office, Holger Muench, told Die Welt newspaper that Germany needs to revamp laws regarding these crimes needed to justify the tremendous harm such criminal activities can do.
“Professional hackers can cause enormous damage. They represent a danger to security and the economy,” Muench said. “That should be reflected in the sentences as well.”
He also said the current laws make the tracking down of operators of bot networks that enable large-scale automated cyber attacks very difficult.
Holger Muench made these comments after a court in Germany recently handed a British hacker-for-hire a suspended sentence after he confessed to a cyber attack that took out the internet for around a million Deutsche Telekom customers.
The regional court in Cologne handed the man, whose names were only given as Daniel K., a year and eight months suspended sentence for attempted commercial computer sabotage. The prosecutors had requested for two years with the maximum sentence up to 10 years.
Earlier this year, Holger Muench, said Germany needed to rapidly develop new skills to stay ahead of cyber criminals and was already working to share more data and intelligence with law enforcement agencies in other countries after concerns were raised regarding the rise in cybercrime.
The head of the cybercrime unit at the German Federal Crime Office, Markus Koths, revealed at a conference this year that, the number of cybercrimes reported last year nearly doubled to over 82,000. This caused damages of over 51 million Euros ($55.7 million).
Cybercrime was expected to continue rising given the massive increase in smart phones, household appliances, and industrial systems, officials told the conference.
He also stated that Germany’s federal cyber security agency gave an estimation of about 560 million different malicious software programs in circulation, up from 440 million a year earlier.
Last month, the IT industry association Bitkom reported that over half of companies in Germany have been affected by sabotage or data theft and spying.
Die Welt newspaper also quoted Georg Ungefuk, the federal prosecutor for Frankfurt, home of Germany’s internet crime agency (ZIT) as urging for current law to experience reforms to account for the growing numbers regarding trade in drugs, weapons, and pornography on the Darknet.
“The criminal code for a cyber crime must be reformed and modernized, otherwise many of the crimes that we see cannot be sufficiently prosecuted,” Georg Ungefuk said.
Also, Joachim Herrmann, the Bavarian Interior Minister whose party will fancy him taking over the federal interior ministry after the German election scheduled on September 24, said that, despite its decentralized federal structure that gives great responsibility to the individual states, Germany is carrying out for a more comprehensive approach to cybercrime.
“The competencies between the federal government, states and military are even more blurred in the cyber realm than in the fight against terrorism,” he told Der Spiegel, the weekly magazine. “We need new structures.”
The head of the ZVEI German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association, Klaus Mittelbach also said earlier this year that Germany should set up a central emergency number for people affected by cyber attacks to encourage better reporting.
According to reports, he stated that his trade group trade group was hit last year by viruses known as “ransomware,” which encrypt data and demand payments for them to be unlocked. He also added that the group had not paid any ransom.