Berlin, Germany has launched its first-ever cyber security hotline, aimed at helping local businesses fend off the increasing threat of cyber attacks.
The hotline is operated by the city’s Digital Agency (Digitalagentur Berlin) which states that, in the case of small and medium businesses, these cyber attacks can be dangerous enough to force a complete shutdown of the business. Businesses experiencing an attack can now call and get immediate assistance from a team of experts and first aid cyber security advisors. The service can handle complex threats, along with offering an array of secondary companies that can help with the threat after the initial crisis is under control. The Digital Agency is also planning on offering several seminars on cyber-security directed at businesses. The Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises is supporting the agency with an annual grant of around 3.4 million euros (~US $3.5 million).
The Berlin IT Service Centre (ITDZ) – a municipal IT company responsible for the digitalisation and maintenance of Berlin’s public services – has recorded more than 15 million registered digital attack attempts per year on municipal authorities. More than 530,000 spam emails are detected every month – which flood and paralyze systems – as well as 3,000 emails containing harmful computer viruses. ITDZ has stated that many of the attacks aim at data theft or extortion and that their frequency is increasing.
The agency’s Managing Director, Nicole Voigt, stated, “In the past few months we have been able to gain initial experience and set up the structure of the offer. The hotline has now been established as a permanent service by Digitalagentur Berlin.”