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Industrie 4.0

Hackers prefer the chemical and automotive industries

Sabotage, espionage and data theft via digital, networked communication channels are increasingly harassing German industry. The attackers are often based in Germany, Russia and China.

18 Dec. 2018
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Hackers prefer the chemical and automotive industries (Picture: Bitkom)

The more industry becomes digitized, the more worthwhile targeted attacks on the networked production infrastructure appear. As the digital association Bitkom reports in its current Business Protection Study 2018 , criminal activities have targeted chemical and pharmaceutical companies (74%) and the automotive industry (68%) in particular over the past two years. Machine and plant engineering (67%) as well as communication and electrical technology manufacturers (63%) were also heavily affected. The unreported figure could be even higher: 19% of all 503 industrial companies surveyed suspected such attacks without having traced them in detail.

Data theft, cyberespionage and sabotage caused total damages of €43.3 billion in 2016 and 2017. Most attacks appear to originate from Germany (36%), Russia (24%) and China (18%), followed by Japan and Eastern Europe (17% each) and the USA (15%). Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in particular are negligent in reacting to the growing threats: according to a survey by Willis Towers Watson , an international insurance broker, most SMEs do not have their own security strategy and lack information about both the scope and protection offered by this type of cyber-insurance policies.

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