Half of German companies
hit by sabotage, spying in last two years, BSI says
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[July 22, 2017]
BERLIN (Reuters) - More than half
the companies in Germany have been hit by spying, sabotage or data theft
in the last two years, the German IT industry association Bitkom said on
Friday, and estimated the attacks caused around 55 billion euros' worth
of damage a year.
Several high-profile attacks have occurred recently, such as the
WannaCry ransomware attacks in May and a virus dubbed "NotPetya" that
halted production at some companies for more than a week. Others lost
millions of euros to organized crime in a scam called "CEO Fraud".
Some 53 percent of companies in Germany have been victims of industrial
espionage, sabotage or data theft in the last two years, Bitkom found -
up from 51 percent in a 2015 study.
At the same time, the damage caused rose by 8 percent to around 55
billion euros a year, the survey of 1,069 managers and people
responsible for security in various sectors found.
Arne Schoenbohm, president of Germany's BSI federal cyber agency, said
many big companies and especially those operating critical
infrastructure were generally well-prepared for cyber attacks. But many
smaller and medium-sized companies did not take the threat seriously
enough, he said.
"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 on
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A man types on a computer keyboard in front of the displayed cyber
code in this illustration picture taken on March 1, 2017.
REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Illustration/File Photo
The BSI urged companies in Europe's largest economy to make information security
a top priority and said all companies need to report serious IT security
incidents, even if anonymously.
Schoenbohm told Reuters in an interview that hardware and software makers should
do their part to shore up cyber security and patch weaknesses in software more
quickly once identified.
"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."
Some 62 percent of companies affected found those behind the attacks were either
current or former employees. Forty-one percent blamed competitors, customers,
suppliers or service providers for the attacks, Bitkom said.
Foreign intelligence agencies were found to be responsible in 3 percent of the
cases, it said.
Twenty-one percent believed hobby hackers were responsible while 7 percent
attributed attacks to organized crime.
(Reporting by Michelle Martin, Andrea Shalal and Thorsten Severin; Editing by
Larry King and Hugh Lawson)
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