Angeschlossene Tastatur zur Illustration des Arbeitsfelds „Elektronische Angriffe", Keyvisual Elektronische Angriffe

Cyber Attacks

The term 'cyber attack' refers to targeted measures using information technology (IT) and directed against this very infrastructure. The purpose of these attacks is either to collect information or to damage or sabotage the IT system that is attacked.

Society is increasingly interconnected via IT networks. Authorities and business enterprises are taking part in this rapid development. This is why cyber attacks have become an important tool for intelligence information collection in recent years. The reasons are obvious: It is relatively easy and cheap to carry out attacks via the Internet. Besides, the risk of being detected is low, while the probability of success is high.

For quite a while now, cyber attacks against state authorities and specific political and economic targets have been carried out with great intensity and on a large scale.

The most common method of attack is sending emails with infected attachments. As soon as an attachment is opened, malicious software installs on the attacked IT system and tries to connect to the originator of the infected email via the Internet. This connection is then used to transmit information or to send new commands controlling the malicious software.

Additional tools used by attackers to transmit malicious programmes are prepared websites or data carriers (e.g. flash drives, hard disks).

Numerous authorities are co-operating on a national and international level in order to counter the threat posed by cyber attacks. For better co-ordination of this co-operation, the Nationales Cyber-Abwehrzentrum (National Cyber Response Centre) has been established in Germany. It began its work in April 2011 and aims at optimising the co‑operation of state authorities e.g. through the co-ordination of protective and response measures taken against IT incidents. BfV is one of the partners contributing to the Response Centre.

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Anti-terrorist Hotline: +49(0)221/ 792-3366

Anti-terrorist Hotline: +49(0)221/ 792-3366

Publications

2017 Annual Report on the Protection of the Constitution (Facts and Trends)

2017 Annual Report on the Protection of the Constitution (Facts and Trends)

DOI: July 2018
Further information Download
How can I identify extremists and members of foreign secret services within my environment? - Important information for refugees in Germany

How can I identify extremists and members of foreign secret services within my environment? - Important information for refugees in Germany

DOI: March 2018
Further information Download
2016 Annual Report on the Protection of the Constitution (Facts and Trends)

2016 Annual Report on the Protection of the Constitution (Facts and Trends)

DOI: July 2017
Further information Download
Our topics – Facts to know

Our topics – Facts to know

DOI: January 2017
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Industry 4.0 – Challenges of a new technology

Industry 4.0 – Challenges of a new technology

DOI: January 2017
Further information Download
Social media – Risks posed by social networks

Social media – Risks posed by social networks

DOI: March 2016
Further information Download