Following two high-profile digital attacks this month on the Irish health service and US fuel pipeline, German hospitals may be at increased risk from hackers, the head of the country’s cyber security agency has said.
German clinics have been targeted by a series of cyber attacks over the last five years and Arne Schoenbohm, president of the BSI federal cyber security agency, told Zeit Online newspaper he saw “a greater danger at hospitals.”
Schoenbohm said many German businesses were at increased risk of being targeted by hackers due to remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Many companies had to enable home offices within a short time,” he said, adding that as a result, many of their IT systems were vulnerable to attack.
“Companies often close known security gaps too slowly," he added.
Ireland’s health service operator shut down its IT systems recently to protect them from a “significant” ransomware attack, crippling diagnostic services, disrupting COVID-19 testing and forcing the cancellation of many appointments.
Earlier in May, the 5,500-mile (8,850-km) US Colonial Pipeline Co system closed after one of the most disruptive cyber attacks on record, preventing millions of barrels of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel from flowing to the East Coast from the Gulf Coast.
Germany's cyber strategy
Germany's military unit dedicated to thwarting cyber attacks on public and private utilities is now up and running. Defending Germany in cyber and information space - just as the army, air force and navy are responsible for the dimensions land, air, space and sea, the members of the new organisational unit are holistically responsible for the dimension cyber and information space.
As soon as a nation launches a cyber attack on Germany’s digital assets, the military’s special unit will come into force to take offensive measures against the offenders. The cyber unit will not only have powers to repel the attacks but also launch the same attack on the offenders with higher severity.
All members of the cyber and information domain service, regardless of whether they are wearing an army, air force or naval uniform, wear a navy blue beret with the associated new beret badge as a common and identity-creating feature. Civilian employees have the option of wearing a pin or pin on their lapel.
The cyber and information domain even has a piece of music dedicated to it. I is marching music and it is called "Cyber March".