Even as some officials in the European Union are preparing to propose stricter data protection laws throughout the continent, Germany is taking matters into its own hands and has launched a new Cyber Defense Center in Bonn, Deutsche Welle reported.
According to the news provider, the new defense center was built in response to the growing international threat of cyber criminals and warfare. Tasked with identifying and thwarting attacks, the center is designed to serve the country's need to protect its critical IT infrastructure.
The center actually opened in April with only a small staff on hand. Now, under the Germany's Federal Office for Information Security, or the BSI, it has become fully operational and has pulled together data security experts from the German Intelligence Agency, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution and the Federal Criminal Police Agency.
"It's not just a fictional threat any more, talked about by a few experts in a back room. It's a genuine threat, which is really there, and that threat is extremely big and extremely sophisticated," the BSI's Stefan Ritter told Deutsche Welle, referring to the threat of cyber warfare and terrorism.
Elsewhere in Europe, officials are taking another approach to combat the growing threat of cybercrime. European Commission vice president Viviane Reding recently announced she plans to propose new legislation that would improve online privacy and better protect consumers from the threat of data breaches.
"[W]hen I modernise the data protection rules, I want to explicitly clarify that people shall have the right – and not only the ‘possibility’ – to withdraw their consent to data processing," Reding said in a press release.
The threat of cyber attacks has grown in recent years for organizations in both the public and private sectors, necessitating a move for greater data security practices. According to a recent report from the Ponemon Institute, 90 percent of surveyed companies claim to have suffered a cyber security breach within the past 12 months.