BERLIN – Cyberwar -- and how to defend against it -- is increasingly a concern for governments worldwide. The latest to step into the ring is Germany, announcing plans on Monday to create a new cyber-warfare defense center next year to fight off espionage attacks, the German interior ministry said.
"We plan to create a so-called 'National Cyber-Defense Center' in 2011," a spokesman told reporters on Monday. "It will work by bundling existing know-how in the area of cyber defense."
As computer systems become more important to control essential services, from power grids to banking, computerized attacks are seen as becoming as important a part of nations' arsenals as conventional or nuclear weaponry.
An interior ministry spokesman said Monday that while in 2009 the government registered only 900 attacks, there were already 1,600 electronic attacks in the first half of 2010 as well as a high number of unreported cases, the Associated Press reported.
Stefan Paris told the news service that "most electronic attacks are coming from China."
He said Germany as an industrialized country is an attractive target for cyber attackers because of its advanced technical development. But Paris did not give any details on the future cyber defense center apart from saying that it should be composed by government experts, members of the intelligence services and would closely cooperate with the corporate world.
Britain announced a 650-million-pound ($1 billion) program last month, labelling cyber security a key priority despite broad cuts to government spending, including on defense.
Several Western security experts believe one computer worm, known as Stuxnet, may have been created by a national counterterrorism authority intent on crippling Iran's nuclear program by sabotaging the industrial control system at its atomic energy plant in Bushehr.
News services contributed to this report.