The German IT industry association Bitkom estimated that the attacks on German companies caused around 55 billion euros’ worth of damage a year and said that more than half the companies in Germany have been hit by spying, sabotage or data theft in the last two years.
In recent months, there have been several high-profile cyber attacks and hackings in the country. A virus dubbed “NotPetya” that halted production at some companies for more than a week and the WannaCry ransomware attacks in May are some high-profile cases in hand. And for others, a scam called “CEO Fraud”, cased them to lose millions of euros.
Up from the figure of 51 percent in a 2015 study, Bitkom found that in the last two years, the victims of industrial espionage, sabotage or data theft in Germany have increased instead of decreasing and in 2017, some 53 percent of companies in Germany have been victims.
At the same time, the survey of 1,069 managers and people responsible for security in various sectors found that the damage caused rose by 8 percent to around 55 billion euros a year.
Many big companies and especially those operating critical infrastructure were generally well-prepared for cyber attacks, said Arne Schoenbohm, president of Germany’s BSI federal cyber agency. But he said that the threat from cyber attacks had not been taken seriously by many smaller and medium-sized companies in the country.
“The high number of companies affected clearly shows that we still have work to do on cyber security in Germany,” he said in a statement while revealing the findings of the study.
The BSI said that all companies need to report serious IT security incidents, even if anonymously and urged companies in Europe’s largest economy to make information security a top priority.
In order to patch weaknesses in software more quickly once identified and to shore up cyber security, hardware and software makers should also do their part, Schoenbohm told Reuters in an interview.
“There’s still a lot of work to be done,” he said. “We have to be careful that we don’t focus solely on industry and computer users, but also look at the producers and quality management.”
And one of the more disturbing and yet preventable trends is the involvement of either current or former employees in cyber attacks or hacking as the study found out where some 62 percent of companies affected reported this fact. The report from Bitkom said that competitors, customers, suppliers or service providers were blamed for the attacks by forty-one percent of the respondents.
The report also said that in just 3 percent of the cases, foreign intelligence agencies were found to be responsible.
While 7 percent attributed attacks to organized crime, twenty-one percent believed hobby hackers were responsible for their cyber attacks.
(Adapted from Reuters)