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Taking Action against Hackers

Internet attacks and cybercrime cause over 50 billion euros in damages in Germany alone. Corporations, authorities and medium-sized companies have to protect their data and networks. CEBIT 2018 helps them learn how.

02 Oct. 2017

500,000 computer viruses bombard companies worldwide every day. Ransomware is becoming increasingly popular among cybercriminals, with attacks increasing over 750 percent in the past year. And the risk that companies will fall victim to online crime is on the rise:


Just a few months ago, the two viruses WannaCry and Petya gave a terrifying demonstration of the breathtaking pace at which viruses or Trojans can spread in corporate networks.

"Only smart defence mechanisms are effective against threats," says Oliver Frese, the Deutsche Messe AG Managing Board member in charge of CEBIT. That is why networked security solutions will be center stage at CEBIT in June 2018.

Germany needs to do more

It is not only the German government that faces major challenges in implementing a strong security strategy. "Companies must also continuously develop defence mechanisms and increase their security spend to respond to the rising threat level," says Frese. Germany’s many patents and impressive engineering achievements are irresistable for cybercriminals from around the world. In the current Global Cybersecurity Index of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Germany ranks just 24th. Singapore tops the list, followed by the USA and Malaysia. "Estonia, Australia, France, Japan and South Korea are also far above Germany. That should be motivation enough for us," comments Frese.

85 percent of Germans want the government to make the Internet a safer place, according to a survey by the German Institute for Trust and Security in the Internet (DIVSI). As the national cybersecurity agency, this is the responsibility of the Federal Office for Internet Security (BSI). The German Federal Government also wants to introduce a voluntary IT quality mark aimed at consumer-focused products in particular. Security solutions for companies will not be provided initially, which seems incomprehensible at first: After all, many boardrooms lack the expertise needed to securely implement digital transformation.

Pressure from the EU Data Protection Regulations

The EU General Data Protection Regulation, slated for introduction in 2018, will lay down clear rules for how companies and public administrations handle personal data. At CEBIT, security experts will report on their early experience with the new directives.

There are significant differences between the different industries and organizations. For example, public administrations and power supply companies are cautious when it comes to introducing new technologies. However, they often do not have effective mobile device management for smartphones and notebooks, which could become a problem when the mobile electronic record is introduced. Automotive manufacturers are very vigilant when screening their vendors, while banks and insurance companies are particularly committed to providing security training for their employees. Three quarters of companies in the manufacturing industry, automotive and power supply sectors qualify their specialists and managers in special aspects of IT security, so that they can react faster to attacks targeting the national infrastructure.

New challenges from the Internet of Things

Cryptotrojan WannaCry proved that security measures are urgently needed. In virtually no time at all, it crippled around 75,000 IT systems in almost 100 countries. Its victims included power supply companies and hospitals. "Targeted cyber attacks on critical infrastructure are an increasing threat to public life," warns Oliver Frese. “At CEBIT, we will highlight the main risks and show how to combat them.” The energy sector is among those at risk: "The network transformation requires power suppliers, from cogeneration plants to wind turbines, to connect to the Internet. Without sufficient protection, smart grids, where professionally managed industrial facilities interact with smaller power generation systems, are just as vulnerable as smart homes with app-controlled heating systems or blinds."

The Internet of Things (IoT) will clearly exacerbate the security situation. Networking countless devices, controllers and sensors calls for extensive professionalization of all security strategies. By 2018, 1.3 million connected robot systems will be working in smart factories around the world.

Security must top the digital agenda

"In the past two years, more than half of all companies in Germany reported attacks in the form of industrial espionage, sabotage or data theft. These cyber attacks cause 55 billion euros in damages every year," reports Oliver Frese, the Managing Board member in charge of CEBIT at Deutsche Messe AG. "That is why every company – whether it has three or 300,000 employees – needs to put security at the top of its digital agenda now. Unlike regional events, CEBIT 2018 offers a comprehensive overview of the latest security trends in ten trade fair halls, keynotes by renowned security experts and many opportunities for personal networking until late in the evening."