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Cyber Attacks Cause Billions in Damages

Cyber attacks in the home office cause billions in damages

The home office is an open door for cyber criminals, says the German Economic Institute. The IT at home is less well protected than at the company location - hacker attacks caused billions in damage during the pandemic.

Data theft, industrial espionage and sabotage: Hacker attacks on employees in the home office last year caused damage of 52 billion euros to German companies alone, according to the German Economic Institute (Institut der Deutschen Wirtschaft (IW)). Overall, cyber criminals caused greater damage to companies in 2020 than ever before - around 223 billion euros. In 2019, around 103 billion euros were lost. "The home office is a gift for cyber criminals," said the IW. Because every employee who works from home uses connections that are often more easily attacked than those in the company network.

Therefore, IT security must be particularly protected during the pandemic and beyond as the hybrid model looks like it will prevail over the next five years. A quarter of the increase in damage from last year can be attributed to work in the home office. "Too often there were no company laptops, [but BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) as company policy], no training and no security concepts," said IW study author Barbara Engels. The result is stolen data, crippled networks and blackmailed companies.

IW expert Engels also assumes a high number of unreported cases: companies with fewer than ten employees are not included in the study - but they usually have the greatest need to catch up in IT security. Attacks could be life threatening here. Other damage could not be quantified because it was not directly attributed to cyber attacks or was caused indirectly, for example through a lack of sales or damage to reputation. "Now is the time to make the home office IT-secure across the board. Companies are saving in the wrong place here," warned Engels.


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