Study: Companies see an increasing risk from cyber attacks

Released on 18.10. 2021

  • With the digitization of the world of work, the risk of hacker attacks and data theft increases from the perspective of companies. Photo: Sebastian Gollnow

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With the digitization of the working world in the corona pandemic, the risk of hacker attacks and data theft is growing from the perspective of companies. Larger companies in particular are targeted.

Frankfurt / Main (dpa) – The concern of German companies about cyber attacks and data theft is growing. Every third company assumes that the risk has increased in the corona pandemic, in which the working world has become more digital.

This is based on a study published on Monday by the advisory and audit firm EY. “During the pandemic, companies had to send employees home overnight and had little time to take appropriate security precautions,” explained EY partner Bodo Meseke on Monday at the presentation of the current EY data clause study. However, returning to the office does not solve the problem.

Almost two out of three of the good 500 surveyed companies (61 percent) estimate the risk of falling victim to cyber attacks or data theft , as «rather high» or «very high». The highest share so far in the year 2021 was 61 percent.

For example, the cyberattack on systems of the US gasoline supplier Colonial Pipeline made headlines in May. The result was a temporary restriction in the gasoline supply on the US east coast. Data theft also includes analog forms such as eavesdropping on employees. “There are still analog attacks,” said Meseke.

From the companies’ point of view, organized crime in particular poses a danger: more than two thirds assume a high risk Risk, followed by hackers with political or ideological goals ( percent) as well as foreign secret services and foreign competing companies (in each case 30 percent). According to the survey, companies are most likely to expect attacks from China or Russia.

More attacks during pandemic

Almost all (98 percent) of those surveyed assume that the problem of data theft and cyber attacks will increase in the future. 42 percent of the companies had concrete evidence of attacks within the past two years. During the pandemic 30 percent of those affected observed an increased number of attacks.

The perpetrators were in 75 percent of the attacks discovered according to information of companies for money. According to the information, they therefore primarily targeted higher-turnover companies. One third (30 percent) of the companies with a turnover of more than 50 million euros already had multiple indications of attacks. “The higher the turnover, the higher the potential prey in the eyes of criminals,” said Meseke. Damage to reputation or competitive advantages were therefore intended by twelve or eleven percent of the attackers.

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