German companies lost billions to cyber attacks: Report

By Ayhan Simsek

BERLIN (AA) – Cyber-attacks and industrial espionage have caused a loss of €43 billion ($50 billion) for German companies in the last two years, a new study has revealed.

Sixty-eight percent of German companies have become the victim of a cyber-attack, sabotage, data theft or espionage, German digital association Bitkom said on Thursday.

"Many German companies are worldwide market leaders which makes them very attractive for criminals," Bitkom’s president, Achim Berg, told a news conference in Berlin.

According to Bitkom’s study, in about 63 percent of the incidents, current or former employees of the companies were involved in the cyber-attack or the industrial espionage.

In 29 percent of the incidents, hobby hackers were believed to have been responsible for the attacks, while foreign intelligence services were identified in 11 percent of the cases.