BERLIN, Germany - A survey published by Germany's IT sector association has revealed that cyberattacks have cost the country's manufacturers billions in losses.
According to the survey released by industry association Bitkom, which surveyed 503 top managers and security chiefs from across Germany's manufacturing sector, cyberattacks have cost the industry some 43 billion euros.
The surveyors noted that two thirds of manufacturers in Europe's largest economy have been hit by cybercrime attacks.
According to the findings of the survey, small and medium-sized companies in Germany - that are the backbone of the German economy - were found to be particularly vulnerable to attacks.
Releasing the survey report, Bitkom head Achim Berg said in a statement, "With its worldwide market leaders, German industry is particularly interesting for criminals."
Berg further urged companies to take cybersecurity more seriously and invest commensurately.
Highlighting the risks across the spectrum, the survey found that a third of the companies surveyed reported mobile phones being stolen, while a quarter complained about sensitive digital data being lost.
The survey also found that there is evidence that cyber criminals were also using other techniques to hobble their German competitors.
It noted that 19 percent of those surveyed said that their IT and production systems had been sabotaged digitally, and 11 percent had reported tapping of their communications.
The findings of the survey come in light of repeated warnings by German security officials, who have sounded the alarm several times about the risk of well-resourced foreign spy agencies using cyber attacks to steal the advanced manufacturing techniques of one of the world's leading exporters.
Thomas Haldenweg, deputy president of the BfV domestic intelligence agency recent said, "Illegal knowledge and technology transfer ... is a mass phenomenon."