Bitkom researchers have discovered that cybercrime costs the German economy 206 billion euros this year. Russia and China are often behind attacks targeting organizations in Germany. The damage comes from data theft, espionage and sabotage.
With the 206 billion reported by Bitkom this year, the annual damage seems to be stabilizing at a significant level. In 2021 the figure was 223 billion, while in 2022 the figure was 203 billion. A worrying 72 percent of the 1002 companies surveyed are said to have experienced a cyber attack in the last 12 months, while 8 percent have no evidence of it but suspect they have been targeted.
While the damage appears to be consistent, the perpetrators of cybercrime have changed. In 2021, only 29 percent of all attacks allegedly come from organized crime, which rose continuously in 2022 (51 percent) and 2023 (61 percent). The conflict between Russia and Ukraine could have played a factor in this regard: stealing data, spying on and sabotaging digital services would all fit with the behaviour of state actors. Russia (46 percent) and China (42 percent) are the most prominent threats to the German digital economy.
According to three-quarters of the organizations surveyed, the threat from China is underestimated. 61 percent state that security services are powerless against foreign cyber attacks. Bitkom president Ralf Wintergerst argues that companies need to improve their IT security. “At the same time, we need more cooperation between industry and security players to prevent attacks and identify perpetrators.” He does note that many malicious actors are in countries where they will not be caught. Thus, cyber threats persist longer and in new manifestations.
More attacks expected
Notable is the increase in ransomware damage: 23 percent of organizations surveyed said they had been affected by it, up from 12 percent last year. However, DDoS attacks did decrease (12 percent versus 21 percent in 2022). That partly explains why personal data theft has increased in Germany. 56 percent of affected organizations admitted that attackers made off with customer data (versus 45 percent in 2022 and 31 percent in 2021). Consequently, the nature of the attacks is changing significantly, even though the damage per year remains similar.
Unfortunately, German organizations have little hope for improvement. Eight in 10 of those surveyed believe there will be more cyber attacks on their business.