The theft of IT equipment and data, as well as digital and industrial espionage and sabotage, will cost Germany €206 billion ($224 billion) in 2023, German digital association Bitkom said on Friday.

The damage will surpass the €200 billion mark for the third consecutive year, according to a Bitkom survey of more than 1,000 companies.

“The German economy is a highly attractive target for criminals and hostile states. The boundaries between organised crime and state-controlled actors are blurred,” said Bitkom President Ralf Wintergerst.

Around three quarters of the companies surveyed suffered digital attacks in the past 12 months, falling from 84% of the companies in the previous year.

“The slight decline in the number of companies is a positive sign and indicates that protective measures are having an effect,” said Wintergerst.

When asked whether “cyber-attacks threaten your business existence,” for the first time more than half of the companies, or 52%, said “yes”. A year ago that figure stood at 45%, and two years ago it stood at 9%, according to the survey.

Of the companies that suffered attacks, 70% have had sensitive data stolen and 61% of companies have had their digital communications spied on.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 2nd, 2023.

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