Online Attackers

Companies Ignore Cyber Threats

  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    A survey of 500 German companies reveals a growing gap between perceptions of the threat of cyber crime and willingness to spend money to fight it. Meanwhile, cyber criminals are becoming more professional.

  • Facts


    • The threat of cyberattacks is one of the topics on the agenda at this year’s Munich Security Conference.
    • Most of the companies surveyed spent €50,000 or less on cyber security.
    • A number of consulting firms are competing in the growing but hotly contested market for cyber security services.
  • Audio


  • Pdf
Breaking in: Smaller companies have realised that cyber-secuirty is a must-have. Source: DPA

Last year, the Lukas Hospital learned the importance of cyber security the hard way. When ransomware crippled several computers, management at the facility in Neuss, near Düsseldorf, took the precautionary step of shutting down the entire IT system and bringing out clipboards again. Other hospitals were also affected, and the incidents demonstrated that criminal hackers are expanding their range of targets beyond corporations.

A year later, however, this insight still has not been fully appreciated by managers around the country. Though increasingly threatened by cyber crime, the Mittelstand, made up of the small- and mid-sized companies that form the backbone of the Germany economy, are not spending more on IT security. That’s according to a survey of 400 private and 100 publicly traded companies by auditing and consulting firm PwC.

“There is a wide gap between the threat situation and companies’ assessments of their own security situations,” said Peter Bartels, a member of the management board at PwC and head of the firm’s family business and Mittelstand division. “At any rate, we are not seeing an IT security boost among Mittelstand companies.”

But given the massive push toward digitalization in the economy, larger investments are necessary, he added. The threat of cyber attacks is also a topic at the Munich Security Conference taking place this weekend.


Want to keep reading?

Subscribe now or log in to read our coverage of Europe’s leading economy.