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Cyberattacks on the Rise

Last year, 90 percent of German companies were the target of cyberattacks. With the advent of the Internet of Things, cybersecurity is more important than ever.

11 Feb. 2016

According to Deutsche Telekom’s "Cyber Security Report 2015," 70 percent of German companies currently regard computer viruses as the biggest data security risk. Data misuse and the illicit use of personal data by companies are next on the list at 67 and 52 percent respectively. These figures are hardly surprising, given the sheer volume of cyberattacks on German companies in 2015.

German companies migrating to the hybrid cloud

Many German CIOs are planning to migrate their companies’ IT systems to so-called hybrid clouds – a combination of private and public cloud systems – by the end of 2016. At the same time, more and more German manufacturers are gearing up for the Internet of Things. For companies, these changes open up unprecedented opportunities and risks. For IT managers, they pose a variety of completely new challenges. Among the horror scenarios for external IT providers involved in these transformation processes are deleted data, compliance infringements, breaches of data protection legislation and illicit access by third parties.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is opening up vast opportunities for cybercriminals. WIRED Magazine’s well-publicized simulated hacker attack on a moving car, which resulted in the vehicle’s brakes being disengaged, provides but a small glimpse of the possible threats our connected future holds. Other types of critical apparatus that could be exposed include medical equipment, implanted medical devices, such as pacemakers, and entire fully-automated production lines. And last year’s successful hacker attack on T-Mobile US , a Deutsche Telekom subsidiary, illustrates that, for companies, cyberattacks can be just as life threatening as for individuals. Every IoT device and machine that is not adequately secured provides an easy backdoor for hackers looking to steal valuable data.

Unprecedented demand for security solutions

As the digital transformation gathers momentum, companies need to continually adapt their security systems to maintain adequate protection of their data. This has sparked a fresh wave of demand for new security solutions. Even today, many IoT communications are still unencrypted. One solution is to confine IoT communications to devices that have a secure digital identity. Amazon’s AWS IoT service, which connects IoT devices to the company’s own AWS (Amazon Web Services) cloud system is among the first such solutions on the market. Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has also recognized the importance of data security in the IoT age. It is funding a number of high-profile initiatives in this space, including Ruhr University Bochum’s PHYSEC project, which received a 650,000-euro grant. The PHYSEK security solution relies on analog data transmission technology combined with encryption that uses cryptographic keys derived from randomly generated number sequences that are specific to each transmission.

Future-proof solutions

IT security solutions that meet the challenges of the future will be one of the keynote themes at the DatacenterDynamics Converged Conference in Hall 12 at this year’s CeBIT. Among much else, the conference will feature a number of lectures and panel discussions where renowned IT security experts will present the latest data storage technologies and physical IT security options.