Germany detected a sharp rise in cyberattacks in 2010, many originating in China, and plans to set up a special centre next year to deal with the danger, the government said on Monday.
"There has been a sharp rise in so-called electronic attacks on the networks of German government and local authorities," interior ministry spokesman Stefan Paris told a regular government briefing.
"Germany is a very high-tech country with considerable experience and know-how, so of course others will naturally try to get hold of this knowledge ... China is playing a large role in this."
In the first nine months of 2010 there were some 1,600 such attacks recorded, compared to around 900 for the whole of 2009, plus most likely a considerable number that went undetected, he said.
The increase was in part due to more and more government business being conducted electronically, he noted however.
The new "National Cyberdefence Centre" will pool the resources and know-how of different government agencies including the federal police and the BND intelligence service with that of private firms, he said.
Europe's biggest economy is far from being alone in seeing government agencies, firms and individuals coming under attack from foreign governments and organised crime attempting to hack into computer networks.
Last year, the United States created its own Cyber Command, while NATO leaders agreed in November to enshrine cybersecurity as one of the 28-nation military alliance's priorities.
Some 65 percent of the world's two billion Internet users are estimated to have fallen victim to cybercrime, a trade so lucrative it is thought to be worth several times that of narcotics.
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