KPMG study: companies fear increasing cyber attacks

KRITIS-Betreiber bleiben im Fokus von Attacken: Myra Security warnt vor Fancy Lazarus

KPMG e-crime study: Mail server most popular gateway

61 Percent of companies in Germany rate their risk of being attacked by computer criminals as “high” or “very high”. Of particular concern: Almost all companies are finding it increasingly difficult to recognize the first signs of a cyber attack at all (84 percent). And more than half of them expect the risk of a cyber attack to increase in the next two years. These are the core results of a KPMG survey of 1,000 companies, selected by industry and turnover, on their experiences with computer crime.

KPMG Partner Michael Sauermann: “Computer crime is eating its way through the German corporate landscape like an ulcer. Above all, mail servers are an attractive target for attack. Phishing emails, business email compromise or ransomware attacks are practically commonplace everywhere. The attacks are becoming more and more diverse, more resounding, correspondingly more explosive and more expensive for companies. The increasing complexity of the technologies used represents a major challenge for more than three quarters of the respondents.“

Carelessness and inadequately trained employees (95 and 81 percent respectively) are among the most frequently mentioned factors that promote computer crime. In addition, companies see a lack of a safety culture or a lack of risk understanding among their employees (86 percent) as major risk factors. Michael Sauermann: “Appropriate training and awareness-raising among employees are of central importance in order to prevent computer crime in one’s own company. It would be ideal if people could develop an awareness similar to a ‘human firewall’.“

Targeting mail servers – Fraud is the most common

39 Percent of the companies surveyed stated that they had been affected by computer crime since 2019. By far the most frequent target of the perpetrators are the mail servers of the companies (67 percent). Among the crimes, fraud offences in particular are recording a noticeable increase: they already account for half of all cases, followed by extortion and data theft with around 25 percent each. Almost a quarter of the respondents had already been exposed to a successful ransomware attack, another 31 percent were able to fend off corresponding attempts. In 40 percent of the companies affected by a ransomware attack, there was an operational failure with serious consequences, which means a significant increase compared to the previous study in 2019 (27 percent). For every second company, more than 75 percent of the IT landscape was affected by the outage. Michael Sauermann: “For almost half of these companies, it then took at least two days before they could resume operations. In practice, we see cases where companies lie idle for weeks or even months.“ What is particularly annoying: the identification of the perpetrators still causes great difficulties. The vast majority must be attributed to the category of ‘unknown externals’.

Corona pandemic forces companies to upgrade

Almost half of the companies surveyed stated that they had taken measures to increase IT security in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic (45 percent). Special attention was paid to the establishment of secure communication channels for access to the company network (91 percent) as well as the definition and communication of clear regulations and specifications for working from home (90 percent).

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