Status: 01/18/2022 08:50 a.m
More dangerous than the pandemic or natural disasters: Specialists and managers surveyed by the Allianz insurance group see hacker attacks and their consequences as the number one risk for their company.
Experts see the greatest danger for companies worldwide in the IT of their companies. Extortion or damage such as a production stop caused by cyber attacks still rank ahead of the feared damage from the pandemic, natural disasters or climate change.
The industrial insurer AGCS, which belongs to Allianz, surveyed a total of 2,650 experts from 89 countries for its current “Risk Barometer” last fall. This included more than 1,200 executives from large companies with more than $500 million in annual sales.
Business interruptions even more dangerous for German companies
According to risk assessments by managers and security professionals, cyberattacks are the number one threat to businesses in 2022. Business interruptions, natural disasters and pandemics follow in places two to four. According to the survey, however, German companies see business interruptions ahead of hacker attacks as the number one danger.
The risks of a pandemic like the current corona pandemic have decreased in the perception of companies. Last year, the effects of the pandemic were rated as the second-biggest risk by companies. In the previous year, however, this risk was still in 17th place among those surveyed.
Extortion with “ransomware”
The fact that hacker attacks are now seen as a massive threat to operations is also likely to be related to the attacks of recent months and years. The number of ransomware attacks has increased significantly. With the help of encryption software, hackers paralyze computer networks in order to then blackmail large sums of money for unlocking. Even very good IT security precautions do not protect one hundred percent against hacker attacks: “Companies invest a lot of money in the further development of IT security, but we are still finding that attackers can get through and sometimes cause enormous damage to companies,” said AGCS -Expert Jens Krickhahn.
Retail chains such as Coop in Sweden have been affected by attacks in recent months, but also critical infrastructure such as the US company Colonial Pipeline, which had to temporarily shut down its supply lines for oil and gasoline on the east coast of the USA after a hacker attack.
Greater damage than drug trafficking
IT company Cybersecurity Ventures estimates that global damage caused by cybercrime will reach $6 trillion in 2021. According to the experts, this sum could increase to $10.5 trillion by 2025. The immense sum includes data theft and destruction, financial crime, lost productivity, intellectual property theft and other crimes, as well as the cost of repairing the damage. The damage from cyber attacks would therefore be greater than that from the global drug trade.
According to the German IT industry association BITKOM 2021, medium-sized companies in particular are a lucrative target in the eyes of cybercriminals, since in addition to good prospects of success, they also tend to move under the radar of the law enforcement authorities. In addition to the lack of understanding of one’s own attractiveness as a company for cybercriminals, there is a lack of personnel and resources, especially in medium-sized companies. Insurance against hacker attacks can usually only be taken out by a company that has already taken extensive IT security precautions, otherwise the risk is too great for the insurer. BITKOM President Achim Berg also calls for better prevention of cyber attacks from the new federal government, including “sufficient financial, material and human resources for the Bundeswehr”.