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German Cyber Security

German Cyber Defense Centre

Two days ago, I attended the world’s biggest IT fair, the Cebit 2011 in Hannover, Germany. Of course, the driving force behind me was to secure knowledge on the German cybersecurity strategy, announced late 2010, early 2011. So what did I find out?

First, I went to the BSI. It is the German agency for IT-security inter alia protecting citizens against privacy misconceptions in facebook. What is even more interesting is, that it is the leading agency in the German joint cyber defense agency, being formed right now. So, I went there to find out more about that agency. When I arrived there: happiness. Two representatives and no one else there asking questions. A lot of time and two people to answer my questions. My birthday? Far from it. Unfortunately, the information available were…wait: there was no information available at all. ‘Ya, well I think there are already people assigned for that agency’, was like the only thing they could tell me. Bravo. What did I expect? I was seriously disappointed about the lack of information at the booth. Even someone reading SPIEGEL online did know more about the new agency than the leading agency’s representatives. It could only get better – that was what I thought.

Then, I discovered a fascinating act of decentralization. The next booth I approached was formed of two organizations somehow linked to the BSI (mainly by money). One was dealing with botnetworks and the other one with all the evil on the net. Sounds strange? Indeed it was. So instead of having it under the umbrella of the BSI, they formed new…agencies? organizations? Could not figure that out. Anyway, so I first asked the guy from the anti-botnetwork thingy what they do. They have three programs and one bootable DVD and a telephone hotline to guide you through how-to-get-rid-off-bots. I did not challenge is knowledge because I found the idea great but why a separate organization for that? Of course, he handed me the bootable Linux DVD with anti-malware tools. And of course I trashed it. After the Federal Police secretly and thus violating laws installed a trojan horse on the computer of a businessman (which was discovered two weeks ago), I am not going to put ANYTHING on/in/at or even near my computer which has been coded/ distributed/ whatever by any of our national agencies. I prefer some Russian having control over my laptop than my government (see also my article on the usual suspects, explaining why the botnet boss has to be a Russian). Apart from that, a bot does not really take over complete control – the government might do. What I was missing was any information about the use of honeypots etc. I mean: helping citizen to get ridd of malware is nice… but for the bigger picture?

Anyway. So, I turned to the woman talking about removing all the evil inter alia adult pornography from the net. Of course she meant pornography which is not secured by age verification. At least, I hope she meant that, because honestly: I was missing a BIT of expertise in that area. After three sentences I stopped listening because it was weird. Basically they do the same as the federal and regional police should do and does. Helping to take down websites in Germany and abroad, working together with the police and ISPs in other countries. Again, why is it not left to the police? Or to the BSI? Why forming an agency for that with a network of – I suppose – similiar useless agencies in other countries. Also: Why wasting money of the European Union for that? No sir…

When I finally arrived at the army – who is also working on its IT-security scheme since 2010, I was already that disappointed that I did not really bring the issue up anymore. The talk was interesting though, opportunities in IT-Security are there, let’s see.

In the end, it all boiled down to a lot of agencies, where I can get information about what I am looking for. A lot of approaches tried by the government. But information, awareness and really expertise are still something I am looking for. Let the interviews get started…

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