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Rise in cyber attacks on German business costing billions of Euros

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Some 80% of the targeted firms were victims of data theft, espionage or sabotage, according to the German digital industry association, Bitkom.

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Cybercrime in Germany is on the rise and reported to be costing an estimated €148 billion in damage to the economy. 

Data revealed by the German authorities on Monday showed a 28% increase in cyberattacks by foreign organisations in 2023, particularly from Russia and China.

“The threat level in the area of cyber security remains high,” said German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser as she presented the national report on cybercrime.

The number of cyberattacks from Russia had doubled over the past two years and cyberattacks from China were up 50% over the same period, German digital industry association Bitkom said in the report.

Cyberattacks from China were up by 50% over the last two years as well, Bitkom said in the national report.

Some 80% of the German companies targeted were victims of data theft, espionage or sabotage, Bitkom managing director Bernhard Rohleder told German public broadcaster ZDF, putting the amount of financial damage caused at €148 billion per year.

Most of the attacks were carried out by criminal gangs or foreign intelligence services, Rohleder revealed.

The reasons behind the attacks were varied, he said, saying some cybercriminals wanted to cause damage to key infrastructure such as energy supplies, transport or hospitals. 

“Some are after money,” he added as he went on to explain: “And there are still some, especially private individuals, who just want to have fun.”  

The report comes at a time of particular concern ahead of the European Parliament elections in June.

Earlier this month, Germany accused Russia of launching cyberattacks against its defence and aerospace firms, as well as members of the governing Social Democratic Party, because of Germany’s support for Ukraine.

“We will not be intimidated by the Russian regime,” Interior Minister Faeser said at the time. “We will continue to do everything to protect our democracy from Russian cyber actions and we will continue to support Ukraine.”

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