What is the most commonly used password in the world? The answer: 123456. Scary, isn’t it? This shows how carelessly people still treat the security of personal data. The danger posed by cybercrime has not yet reached the general public. Yet it is now a global business worth billions, with professionally organized criminals offering their services on the darknet. In Germany alone, the damage to companies from cyberattacks in 2021 was 223 billion, which was twice as high as in 2019 and four times as high as in 2017 (data according to the industry association Bitkom). The registered offenses mostly involve industrial espionage and extortion, but also credit card fraud, theft of cryptocurrency and data theft.
Since Russia’s attack on Ukraine, the political dimension of cyberwar has been revealed. Attacks on a country’s infrastructure, such as electricity and water supplies, communications networks, or even military targets, can cause significant damage to a country and its population. Attacks on companies, such as Internet sites being unavailable, data being stolen, or supply chains being disrupted, can bankrupt companies. One reason for the increasing threat is greater digitization. More and more devices are being networked, which means more entry points for hackers.
What to do?
The issue must first become more of a focus. Companies and politicians must take cybercrime more seriously. They are a threat to security, prosperity and public order. Companies and public authorities must invest more in IT security. The damage caused by cybercrime is much higher than the cost of increasing IT security. The goal must be for public institutions, infrastructure, companies and, last but not least, private individuals to act more cautiously and better protect themselves and their digital belongings.