As hackers continue to improve their methods of infiltrating company computers, businesses are getting worse at defending themselves. But the damage of negligence can be immense.
Only three out of every 100 German companies are adequately protected against hacker attacks, and executives lack urgently needed expertise, according to figures released by TÜV Informationstechnik GmbH (TÜViT), the computer division of the technology services group TÜV-Nord.
“Germany has a lot of catching up to do. Too much time has passed with too little done,” said TÜViT Chief Executive Dirk Kretzschmar. As hackers have gotten better and more cautious, many companies have not done enough to protect themselves. “There are a couple of fundamental questions that firms should be able to answer by now in light of the growing threat of hackers,” said Kretzschmar.
Namely, they should know which services and divisions need particular protection and how they can better prevent attacks. “Unfortunately,” Kretzschmar said, “many firms still don’t have the answer to this. There is a lack of understanding at the managerial level concerning the dangers posed by the Internet and the progress of interconnectivity.”
55 billion euros in damages every year
The self-perception of CEOs and IT managers clearly contradicts the experience of computer security firms. A global study by the IT security firm Kaspersky found that more than half of the 1,000 surveyed industrial companies were the target of a cyberattack last year. According to the digital association Bitkom, these attacks cost 55 billion euros in damages in Germany in 2016, yet 83 percent of companies believe their industrial systems are well protected against cyber-security events.
One of the biggest problems, according to experts, is the networking of companies with service providers and machine manufacturers. This is because companies grant access to the corporate network via wireless Internet connections in order to service their production systems and automatic machines, like ticket vending machines or X-ray scanners. “This is a huge gateway for cyberattacks,” said Kretzschmar.
All rights reserved: Die Welt/Worldcrunch by Marc Neller