Five out of six victims do not know who is behind digital attacks. German industry suffers billions of dollars in damage from cybercrime.

Data theft, espionage or sabotage cause German companies a lot of trouble. The digital association Bitkom estimates the damage to German industry in the last two years at 43.4 billion euros. As a result, seven out of ten industrial companies have fallen victim to such attacks during this period. “The German industry is under constant digital attack – from small digital criminals to organized crime and hackers on behalf of the state,” says Bitkom President Achim Berg. “The quality and scope of cyber attacks will continue to increase”. What makes matters worse is that many companies are unable to prosecute the perpetrators. This is what the study “e-Crime in the German Economy 2019” by the auditing firm KPMG found out. 85 percent of companies affected by cybercrime can only assign the perpetrator to the category “unknown externally”. They are therefore not in a position to effectively prosecute and investigate attacks. At the same time, there is a danger that crimes will go undetected and thus not be prosecuted.

Offenders buy attacks in Darknet

KPMG partner Michael Sauermann, Head of Forensic Technology Germany: “It is one of the biggest challenges for companies that perpetrators can hardly be identified. That must shake us awake. This fact also gives reason to believe that many attacks are not even discovered and that a large dark field could exist. Hacker attacks are among the most commonly used cybercrime strategies. These attacks are increasingly bought like a service on the black market. Sauermann continues: “Hacking attacks can be purchased in Darknet. From Ransomware attacks to overload attacks to Advanced Persistent Threats, including data theft, everything is available”. It is therefore becoming increasingly difficult to identify the actual perpetrators behind an attack. In the perception of the interviewees, the danger here comes primarily from organized crime (79 percent). In addition, secret services and state institutions (50 percent) as well as current employees (48 percent) are suspected as potential perpetrators.

What forms of attacks are the most common?

Ransomware attacks using an encryption Trojan are another strong source of danger. These attacks no longer exploit the mere interaction of a single employee, for example by opening links or attachments contained in the email. Meanwhile, they also read the entire address book of the attacked person and send malware to all contacts stored there. The number of ransomware attacks has risen, especially among large companies. Almost a third of the companies surveyed were confronted with this in the course of cybercrime. A further 28 percent were able to fend off attacks. More than a quarter of all companies affected by Ransomware suffered a business failure as a result of the attack. On average, this lasted almost 40 hours. Michael Sauermann: “Although the damage in some cases amounts to comparatively small sums, Ransomware attacks can cost the company millions, especially in the case of longer operational failures”.

Often only minor expenses to protect against cybercrime

All the more surprising that many companies invest comparatively little in digital protection against cybercrime. Just under 20 percent of the companies surveyed spend less than 10,000 euros a year on preventing e-Crime. A further 28 percent invest between 10,000 and 50,000 euros and only every fourth company spends more than 50,000 euros. In addition personnel problems come. Because employees in German companies still too often lack an understanding of complex technologies in order to efficiently assess suspicious cases. In addition, for two thirds of companies it is a massive challenge to recruit competent employees or to train them accordingly. KPMG expert Sauermann: “Damage becomes wisdom. But even companies not yet affected must learn to permanently arm themselves against new attack patterns, as new technologies always require an examination of the measures already taken.


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Link: According to auditing firm KPMG, the digital protection of German companies must be improved.

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