Business Allianz “risk barometer”: hacker attacks are the number one...

Allianz “risk barometer”: hacker attacks are the number one corporate risk worldwide

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Hacker attacks and cybercrime have become the biggest threat to companies around the world, according to a new study by Allianz.

In the insurer's new “risk barometer”, cyber attacks are number one of the possible threats, followed by business interruptions and “legal changes” – which means trade conflicts, customs duties, sanctions, Brexit and other political risks. Climate change ranks seventh among business risks, and even third in the Asia / Pacific region, which is often hit by natural disasters.

The AGCS division, which is responsible for industrial insurance, surveyed around 2,700 specialists for corporate dangers in more than 100 countries, external and internal executives, risk managers and insurance brokers and experts for the study.

AGCS manager Jens Krickhahn especially highlighted the blackmail in the IT dangers. The cybercriminals encrypt company computers with the help of malware («ransomware») and then request money for the decryption. The phenomenon has been known for years, but the attackers are demanding ever higher sums, according to Allianz. A few years ago, according to Krickhahn, 10,000 to 20,000 euros were the usual sums, now double-digit millions are required.

According to Allianz, the attacks are often well prepared. First, the perpetrators spy on e-mails and financial data with the help of spy software, before the encryption software is installed in the second step.

One of the most dangerous Trojans is the “Emotet” malware, which the Federal Office for Information Security also uses to warn. "Emotet" spies on confidential contact details and can install other malware, such as the "Ryuk" ransomware and the "Trickbot" banking Trojan, which encrypt networks and spy out bank details.

A year ago, cyberattacks still shared the top spot in the risk barometer with business interruptions; meanwhile, the IT dangers alone come first. But even the business interruption – that is, the stoppage of an entire company or major areas – is often due to hacker attacks.

Concern about “legal changes” such as tariffs and sanctions is also increasing in times of the US-Chinese trade conflict, which moved from fourth to third place in the risk ranking.

In fourth, fifth and sixth places: natural disasters, market developments and fire or explosions. Climate change in seventh place is also gaining importance as a corporate risk, a year ago it was eighth. Many companies fear increasing property damage. Last year, for example, Japan was hit by severe typhoons that caused damage in the tens of billions.

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