It was a torrent of countless inquiries that purposely paralyzed the websites of several state ministries in Germany in April. IT experts call this “distributed denial of service”, or DDoS for short, when a server “refuses” to load a website due to overload. The attack was carried out by pro-Russian hackers trying to influence the war in Ukraine. In addition to authorities, companies such as banks, Internet providers or energy suppliers, which are part of the critical infrastructure, are increasingly being targeted by criminal hacker groups. The Hanover-based tire manufacturer Continental was hit in the summer of 2022 when hackers gained access to sensitive data and are said to have demanded a ransom. A global wave of hackers using blackmail software also affected hundreds of German companies in February.
According to a study by the digital association Bitkom, cyber crime causes financial damage of more than 200 billion euros to the German economy every year. Over 80 percent of German companies are affected. In addition to stealing sensitive data such as passwords, cloud access, emails and market analyses, attackers also want to spy on IT systems and manipulate them with malware, for example. According to Bitkom, attacks from China and Russia have recently increased significantly.
Companies are increasingly relying on technologies from cybersecurity startups
In 2022 there were around 1,500 cyber crimes in Germany. This puts Germany in eighth place worldwide in terms of the density of criminal network attacks in a ranking by the cyber security company Surfshark. However, Great Britain recorded the most hacker attacks. According to Surfshark, there are around 4,400 cyberattack victims for every million internet users in the UK. According to the platform, the most common offense is the sending of fake e-mails, so-called “phishing”: users are tricked into entering personal data into a mask by accessing a fake link. In this way, hackers can easily gain access to the entire system.