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Cybersecurity Incidents in Germany in 2022

We have all noticed that 2022 was quite a turbulent year for cybersecurity with some spectacular data breaches and cyber threats worldwide. It all started with the consequences of the Log4j exploit which threatened to cripple the digital world, moving on to an unprecedented cyber warfare between Russia and Ukraine and passing through various massive data breaches affecting companies such as Microsoft, Nvidia, Twitter and Uber.

On a local level, things have not been rosy either. Cyber attacks in Germany made the news on several occasions too featuring breaches of companies such as Knauf, WISAG, HiPP and Continental. However, it is only when looking at the overall number and type of attacks that the real extent and effect of the cyber breaches become clear. We examined articles on various news sites reporting of hacker attacks throughout the year and compiled a data analysis based on frequency, type of attacks and targeted industries.

We managed to identify a total of 144 attacks (please note that this list may not be exhaustive!) with most attacks happening towards the end of the year (18 attacks for each month of October and December). View full list

Fig 1. Security incidents by month in Germany in 2022.

When it comes to the industries in target, education and research institutes are definitely in the lead, followed by government and public administration services. The public services of many German towns were paralyzed for days, culminating with DDoS attacks on the German Federal Ministry of Defense, the Federal Police and German Parliament.

Fig 2. Security incidents by target industries in Germany.

For the attacks which have been reported on in detail, malware-based attacks (e.g., ransomware, viruses, trojans, keyloggers, etc.) were the most common security breaches. Security incidents resulting in DoS or DDoS came next, while the success of phishing scams (20 reported cases) was still, and not surprisingly, high.

Fig 3. Security incidents by type of attack in Germany.

As it becomes clear from this short analysis, the threat landscape is constantly growing. Only in Germany, 2022 saw an increase of 35% (Source: Konbriefing, 2021) in successful hacker attacks, most of them as a result of sophisticated social engineering scams. It is important to note, however, that many of the targeted companies and organizations were able to continue functioning, or retrieve encrypted data without massive losses as a result of a well-prepared backup, recovery and incident response plan. Security standard policies are therefore a vital part of the business continuity plan of every organization and should be handled as top-priority along with the continuous effort to educate staff and stay up-to-date with the ever-growing threat landscape.

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