Security levels on the internet have been described as ‘catastrophically poor' by the German government's IT security department.
Hartmut Isselhorst made the claim at the CeBIT Computer Fair in Hanover, with the BSI (Federal Office for Information Security) chief claiming that as soon as a user goes online they become a target.
Yuval Ben-Itzhak, chief technology officer at Finjan, said: "Research from the BSI claims to show that internet crime and sabotage are rising very rapidly, despite increasing levels of IT security understanding amongst web users.
"BSI chief Hartmut Isselhorst told show attendees that the situation is now very serious and is far worse than anyone could have predicted. This analysis is confirmed by observations and research from Finjan's Malicious Code Research Centre."
Ben-Itzhak claimed that Isselhorst's observations are actually ‘quite restrained', as its recent research shows that there has been a significant increase in hybrid attack vectors, with hackers using a multi-pronged methodology to extract revenue from hapless internet users.
Germany's Bitkom lobbying group reported that 19 per cent of German internet users do not have any anti-virus software installed on their PCs, and 45 per cent are without a firewall to protect them.