85 per cent of Germans fear cyber attacks

Germans increasingly afraid of cyber crime

The number of German Internet users who fear becoming the target of cyber criminals has risen to 85 per cent.

Tech industry association Bitkon found that the number of Internet users over the age of 14 who fear their credit card data being stolen or bank accounts being unlawfully accessed has increased 10 per cent from 75 per cent in 2010. 

German federal police (BKA) have been prompted to warn Internet users that cyber criminals are extremely innovative and can adapt to rapidly changing security measures, as data confirms the problem is growing.

"Cyber-criminals are increasingly relying on social engineering," BKA president Joerg Ziercke said.

"They try to gain access to sensitive information, by putting employees under pressure or taking advantage of their willingness to help."

One in five people still does not use any form of computer protection which exacerbates the problem, Bitkom said.

Law enforcement around the world is struggling to combat cyber crime from groups including LulzSec and Anonymous, tackling serious security breaches and data thefts at Sony, Citigroup, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA).

Various types of digital blackmail are rising as more people are coerced into paying some form of ransom so their stolen data won't be sold over the Internet or to put an end to cyber-attacks on corporate websites.

The number of cyber crimes in Germany increased by 19 per cent last year while ensuing damages jumped by two-thirds to €61.5m, data from the federal police showed.

So-called "phishing" of online-bank data nearly doubled, with the average damage amounting to roughly €4,000.

A cyber attack defence centre was launched by Germany this month to combat cyber crime.

Defcon, the world's biggest annual gathering of hackers held in Las Vegas, US, however is taking a different approach.

This year it will kick off the first Defcon Kids conference for children between eight and 16 to learn the skills of computer hackers, as well as to protect themselves against cyber attacks.

US federal agents plan to use the occasion to size up tech-savvy youngsters who could form the next generation of digital crime-fighters.

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