October 5, 2017 / 3:25 PM / 2 years ago

German companies see threefold rise in cyber attacks, study finds

A man types into a keyboard during the Def Con hacker convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. on July 29, 2017. REUTERS/Steve Marcus

BERLIN (Reuters) - The number of German companies targeted by cyber attacks in the past three years has tripled compared with the three years to 2015 and the figure is growing steadily, a study showed on Thursday.

From the 450 German companies surveyed by the audit and consulting company EY, 44 percent said they had been spied on. But Bodo Meseke, an expert at EY, said many companies did not notice attacks.

The study found that 67 percent of managers at larger enterprises - those with a turnover of more than one billion euros ($1.17 billion) - expect a significant increase in the number of attacks on their businesses.

Managers see the biggest danger coming from Russia, followed by China, and the United States.

“Recently, the threat increased rapidly again and it comes from different sides. In addition to intelligence services and (business) competitors, organized crime is increasingly becoming an adversary,” Meseke said.

A separate study by the Allensbach polling institute for Deloitte also published on Thursday showed that 27 percent of executives in medium and large companies said their businesses were exposed to IT attacks every day.

Four years ago, 12 percent suffered daily attacks.

The Allensbach study, based on interviews with politicians and companies, found that 97 percent of respondents saw a large-scale hacker attack to be “at least” or “very” probable.

Three-quarters of those questioned perceive a major cyber attack risk that would target infrastructure facilities such as electricity grids or hospitals and just as many contamination by computer viruses.

Reporting By Riham Alkousaa, editing by David Evans

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