Statement on Bitkom cybercrime study

, Leipzig
  • Data theft, espionage and sabotage cost German companies 55 billion Euro each year
  • German companies must farewell overcome IT security strategies and finally take responsibility
  • Advanced Persistent Threats not covered by blacklists of security providers can only be averted with a machine-learning anomaly detection

Leipzig, September 19, 2017 - The recently published study »Economic Protection in the Digital World« by the German Federal Association for Information Industry, Telecommunication and New Media (Bitkom) draws a gloomy picture. In the years 2015/2016, German companies had to pay almost 109.6 billion euros for the damage caused by data theft, sabotage and espionage. This represents an increase of 7 percent compared to the years 2013/2014. The German Industry 4.0 is thus still far from being able to cope with the challenges of increasing networking and digitization. German certification body TÜV Informationstechnik recently claimed that most German companies had not even done the necessary to protect themselves against cyberattacks. According to their findings, only 3 percent would be adequately prepared.

The current IT security strategies are at the wrong end

Surprising result of the study for 2013/2014* is above all the fact that the most affected industries are also the most innovative and supposedly best-secured in Germany: the automotive industry as well as the chemical and pharmaceutical industry. Of all surveyed companies 68% and 66%, respectively, were victims of data theft, espionage and sabotage. Critical infrastructures were affected by 45%.

Klaus Mochalski, an expert on cybersecurity and monitoring of Industrial Control Systems, and CEO of the technology company Rhebo recognizes a failure pattern, which can be found in the IT security of almost all companies: »The companies limit their safeguarding to the borders of their networks. They say: I have a firewall, so I'm protected. They rely on virus lists of their security service providers, which are already outdated during the update and furthermore are blind in one eye. Malware like WannaCry flies under the radar. And Firewalls and Co. do not have any insight into the really hot area of any corporate IT threat: the inner life of their own network«.

Before security comes transparency

It’s not only the loss of competitive advantages through plagiarism and patent theft which plays an important role for the annual costs of 55 billion Euro. About 10% of the damage sum is due to malfunctions caused by hardware theft, sabotage and manipulation. This year the Malwares WannaCry, Industroyer and NotPetya have already revealed methods for cyberattacks taking down entire productions. With increased networking, plant availability and productivity are becoming a target for cybercriminals.

 Klaus Mochalski: »This trend will get worse as long as the new threats and the fundamental change in IT infrastructures in automation companies are not taken seriously. If operators of Industrial Control Systems cannot even say with certainty how much components are networked in their production - let alone how they communicate with one another - we must not be surprised at the power of WannaCry and Co. However, transparency is only given to those who have complete insight into all the activities of their Industrial Control System. This includes a detailed analysis of each data packet, the reporting of any suspicious anomaly in the communication pattern as well as the prioritization of incidents by a clear risk scoring. The key word is anomaly detection. This form of network monitoring not only strengthens companies with regard to cybersecurity, but also optimizes the productivity and availability of production facilities and critical infrastructures. Companies must finally begin to regain control of their Industrial Control Systems«.

Klaus Mochalski is available for questions and interviews. Also read the expert talk in the current issue of the ew magazine where Klaus Mochalski and security expert Dr. Sandro Gaycken discuss the situation of IT security in Germany.

* For the years 2015/2016, Bitkom Research has not provided information on the distribution of industry categories.


About Klaus Mochalski

Klaus Mochalski is CEO of Rhebo. He has more than 10 years of experience in the development and marketing of network management and IT security technologies. He co-founded the IT security companies ipoque, and Adyton Systems which together now have more than 200 employees. Before that he worked in research and teaching at international universities.


About Rhebo

Rhebo is a German technology company that is specialized in ensuring the operational reliability of industrial control systems by monitoring control communications. Rhebo provides hardware, software and services that reduce overal security risks and increase productivity in manufacturers and critical infrastructire provider networks.

Its founders, Klaus Mochalski (CEO), Martin Menschner (CTO) and Dr. Frank Stummer (Business Development), each have more than 10 years of experience in the development and marketing of network management and IT security technologies.

Rhebo is listed as one of the 30 top providers for industrial security in Gartner’s »Market Guide for Operational Technology Security 2017«. The company is member of Teletrust – IT Security Association Germany.



Kristin Preßler (Head of Marketing)
Rhebo GmbH
Spinnereistr. 7
04179 Leipzig
Phone +49-(0)341-393-790-18
Mobile: +49-(0)162-1002085