Germany's interior minister opened Thursday a new cybersecurity centre to protect the country's infrastructure from what he said was a growing menace posed by hackers.
"Protecting critical infrastructure is at the core of cybersecurity," Hans-Peter Friedrich said in Bonn. "We are forced to admit that the danger of attacks on these systems is growing."
Germany's new centre in the former West German capital Bonn has 10 full-time employees from different national security agencies and will work closely with the police, the military, intelligence bodies and others.
Germany, Europe's biggest economy, is far from being alone in seeing government agencies, firms and individuals coming under attack from foreign states and organised crime attempting to hack into computer networks.
In 2009 the United States created its own Cyber Command, while NATO leaders agreed last November to enshrine cybersecurity as one of the 28-nation military alliance's priorities.
The public website of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) on Wednesday joined a growing list of hacker targets that has included Sony, the International Monetary Fund and Citibank.
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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