„Harm caused by cybercrime“: Towards a cyber-resilient society

Dr Nicole Selzer, Head of the Cyberresilient Society Unit in the Cyberagentur's Secure Society Department. Photo: Andreas Stedtler/Cyberagentur

Interdisciplinary project launched by Unit Cyberresilient Society of the Cyberagentur

The Agentur für Innovation in der Cybersicherheit GmbH (Cyberagentur) is initiating the research project „Harm caused by cybercrime“. The aim of the research project is to develop a model for the holistic recording of material (tangible) and immaterial (intangible) effects of cybercrime to better allocate resources and develop new approaches of prevention. The award procedure was published on June 28, 2024.

The digital transformation of our world brings many benefits as well as an increased risk and potential impact that cybercrime has on society. The complex nature of harm, from financial losses to psychological effects, requires an innovative approach to comprehensively record and assess all the effects of cybercrime. „We currently lack the data to holistically record material immaterial harm caused by cybercrime in the short, medium and long term. Anything that we can’t assess precisely carries the risk of over- or underestimation and therefore the risk of not deploying resources in the right place,“ explains project lead, Dr Nicole Selzer, Head of the Cyberresilient Society Unit at the Cyberagentur.

With the research project „Harm caused by cybercrime“ (SCK), the Cyberagentur now wants to tackle this problem and thus take an important step towards a cyber-resilient society. If the effects are recorded holistically, potential harm can become visible that is currently underestimated and requires other prevention, detection and response measures.

The aim of the project is to develop an innovative model that combines metrics and methodologies to capture both material (tangible) and immaterial (intangible) harms caused by cybercrime. In short, medium, or long term, the various phenomena of cybercrime should be recorded systematically, reproducibly, and verifiably. This should also create a basis to proactively respond to future threats.

Diverse approaches sought for harm assessment

The results of this project will support a wide range of applications, from the precise assessment of Germany’s cyber security level to the strategic orientation of cyber security measures.

Here, a particular focus is on  a detailed analysis of cybercrime , both in a narrow and broad sense.  This allows examining which offences fall under the categories of cybercrime and how they can be effectively recorded. The relevance of existing crime statistics will also be evaluated.

The project aims to produce a variety of outputs, including a comprehensive model, innovative metrics and methodologies, coded datasets, databases, demonstrators, and scientific publications. These tools and findings will form the basis for further research and make a valuable contribution to the fight against cybercrime.

By answering key research questions, the research project „Harm caused by cybercrime“ will not only close existing gaps in the recording and assessment of cybercrime, but also initiate preventive measures and strategies for a resilient society. It marks an important step towards a comprehensive national and international cyber security strategy.

The invitation to tender was published in the Supplement to the Official Journal of the European Union with the contract notice number TED 383792-2024: https://www.evergabe-online.de/tenderdetails.html?2&id=623480. End of the competition is August 06, 2024

Further information: https://www.cyberagentur.de/sck-en

German version