Berlin Opens Security Operations Center, Detects and Wards Off Cyber Attacks

Berlin, Germany recently opened the Security Operations Center (SOC), a part of the Berlin IT Service Center (ITDZ). In a bid to detect and ward off hacker attacks, the center will be manned around the clock, monitoring access to the digital public system and coordinating cross-agency measures. The ITDZ is a municipal IT company responsible for the digitalization and maintenance of Berlin’s public services.

According to the ITDZ, the city receives approximately 15 million registered digital attack attempts each year. More than 530,000 spam emails are detected every month, as well as 3,000 emails containing harmful computer viruses. ITDZ states that many of these attacks are aimed at data theft or extortion and that their frequency is increasing.

Currently, the ITDZ supervises the city’s interconnected network which is made up of over 1,100 kilometers (~683 miles) of cables and tens of thousands of computers and telephones. The network includes Berlin State authorities, the police, the fire brigade, and the courts. With the addition of the new security center, it’s expected that the ITDZ will gradually take over more of the system to achieve a more centralized and standardized approach to cyber security. This centralization would also allow the digitalisation of the administration to advance, as its data would be better protected.

Marc Böttcher, CEO of the ITDZ Berlin, said “The dangers of hacker attacks, malware, and security gaps have been increasing for years. Our experience shows that IT security needs to be actively managed, continuously adjusted, and professionally implemented. In the SOC we bundle expertise, the latest technology, and organization. This makes it possible to standardize the topic of IT security for the authorities and institutions of the Berlin administration at a high level.”