The German government has agreed to implement a sweeping set of security measures aimed at protecting critical IT infrastructure in the country.
The measures are part the National Plan for Protection of Communications Infrastructure approved more than two years ago by the German federal government and applicable to all federal departments and agencies.
The move to implement the plan follows last week's German media report about continued efforts by Chinese hackers to plant Trojan horse programs on government computers.
Security experts from Germany's Federal Office for Information Security and Federal Data Protection Office discovered in May Trojan horse programs in computers used in several government ministries, including the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Economics and the Research and Development Ministry, as well as Chancellor Angela Merkel's office, and say the attacks by Chinese hackers continue, the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel reported on Aug. 27.
The IT security policies that the federal government will implement have been developed in cooperation with more than 30 large German companies that offer critical infrastructure services such as electricity, natural gas, banking, and telecommunications, and depend on secure and reliable communication systems to operate their networks. The companies have also agreed to implement the IT security measures within their organizations.
With Islamic radicals targeting German troops and others working in Afghanistan in recent weeks, government officials, including Federal Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, point to a heightened threat level that makes IT security an issue of increasing urgency.
Additional information about the IT security plan is available on the federal government's Web site.