A data center in Bavaria: Cyber attacks are considered the greatest threat to companies worldwide
Lino Mirgeler/ DPA
Managers and security professionals around the world see cyberattacks as the greatest threat to organizations.
In the "risk barometer" of the industrial insurer AGCS, which belongs to Allianz, criminal hackers and their activities are in first place.
Business interruptions, natural disasters and pandemics follow in places two to four.
The company surveyed a total of 2,650 professionals in 89 countries last fall.
This included over 1,200 executives from large companies with more than $500 million in annual sales.
Allianz's own experts also took part in the survey.
However, cyberattacks and business interruption are linked in many cases, as AGCS manager Jens Krickhahn said.
The number of ransomware attacks has increased significantly in recent years.
With the help of malicious encryption software, hackers paralyze computer networks in order to then extort large sums of money for unlocking them.
Even very good IT security precautions do not provide 100% protection against hacker attacks: "Companies invest a lot of money in the further development of IT security, but we are still finding that attackers can get through and sometimes cause enormous damage to companies," said Krickhahn.
Damages in the trillions
The Allianz survey is consistent with other analyzes of cybercrime.
The US company Cybersecurity Ventures estimates that the global damage caused by cybercrime reached six trillion dollars last year.
By 2025, this could increase to $10.5 trillion.
The immense sum includes data theft and destruction, financial crime, lost productivity, intellectual property theft and other crimes, as well as the cost of repairing the damage.