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The State Criminal Police Office in Stuttgart and the Ministry of the Interior, in collaboration with numerous private industry organizations, announced plans for a new law enforcement branch known as the “Cyber-Armed Forces Coordination Center.” Depending on how the pilot program plays out, the Cyber-Armed Forces may set the standard for cyber defense in Germany, Minister of the Interior Thomas Strobl announced. Strobl, according to StN, could not yet reveal the location of this new center or what exactly it would do. He was, however, able to reveal information the news outlet considered “concrete.”

Minister Strobl explained that many small businesses are unable to afford IT or cybercrime specialists. Yet, many of the large companies handled cyberattacks on their own. He introduced the concept in the days before August as a cyber defense center that could respond “seven days a week and 24 hours a day quickly if they [small or medium sized businesses] were affected by a cyber attack.” He added that “IT security is the foundation of the digital world” detailed the reasons every organization should have access to “cyberexperts.”

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The LKA and collaborators will test the Cyber-Armed Forces Coordination Center for 15-months. After the trial period, government officials will determine whether or not the program will expand to states other than Baden-Württemberg. Currently, the known collaborators (with the LKA and Ministry of the Interior) are the Research Center for Computer Science, the Competence Center for Applied Safety Technology (KASTEL), the Central Contact Point Cybercrime (ZAC), and the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT).

And according to the LKA, the need for this center has reached an all time high. In 2015, the Baden-Württemberg LKA recorded 400 attacks on businesses. By 2016, the number of attacks had grown to nearly 1,200. They usually saw attacks similar to the attacks the IRS had warned US companies of in 2016 and 2017. Business Email Compromise or BEC scams. “These are incredibly tricky schemes that can be devastating to a tax professional or business,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen reported. “Cybercriminals target people with access to sensitive information, and they cleverly disguise their effort through an official-looking email request.”

The LKA also reported an increase in ransomware through malicious emails. ”The criminals demand a payment of ransom – usually in the form of the so-called bitcoins,” they explained. Strobl said that Baden-Württemberg was an innovative market leader in Europe. Because of this, criminals are attracted to Baden-Württemberg. “[The government] is therefore doing everything it can to help those small and medium-sized businesses who still need a lot of support in this area,” he said. “If data and the know-how are not secure, everything is nothing in the process of digitization.”