Cybercrime causes financial damage worth more than a million euros a week in Germany, federal police authorities say. And they say recorded cases are only a part of the picture.
The number of cyberattacks in Germany rose by 1.3% in 2018, to some 87,000 cases, the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) announced on Monday, although the registered financial damage caused sank by 17% to around €60 million ($66.2 million).
Police said, however, that neither figure reflected the full scale of the situation, as a number of cases went unreported, with, for example, companies that have suffered cyberattacks often not wanting to lose their reputation for reliability.
Many cases of blackmail or of computer viruses were also not brought to the attention of authorities, they said, while some attacks were not even recognized as such.
The police agency said that one reason for the rise in internet crime was that there were simply more vulnerable points to attack.
"The rising number of digital devices offers cybercriminals more and more new potential targets," it said.
The vice president of the BKA, Peter Henzler, also noted that critical infrastructure, such as electricity suppliers or railway networks, were being repeatedly targeted.
He announced the creation of a new department at the BKA, Germany's investigative police force, from April next year that would be tasked only with tackling cybercrime.
Cherchez les femmes
According to the agency, women are more likely to commit cybercrimes than other forms of criminal offense, with one-third of suspected cybercriminals being female, compared with around 25% in other sectors. The BKA put this down to a high proportion of women suspected of ordering items on the internet and then failing to pay for them.
Cybercrime includes offenses such as computer fraud, cyberattacks on companies and the theft of data online.
tj/msh (dpa, Reuters)