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Industrial espionage a growing threat

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Industrial espionage a growing threat
Photo: DPA
11:31 CEST+02:00
The German domestic intelligence agency, or Verfassungsschutz, has warned mid-sized companies to be more vigilant of cyber-attacks, which increased in 2010.

The agency's President Heinz Fromm said the threat of industrial espionage through cyber-attacks from foreign intelligence services, was still being underestimated by mid-sized German companies.

"The number of recognized attacks on German IT systems rose significantly in 2010," Fromm told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung. "Mid-sized German companies are a particularly attractive target for espionage."

Fromm said companies that do not protect their IT systems properly could end up paying high price, and he called for more cooperation with the authorities. "We would have a lot more success if businesses gave us more information about hacker-attacks and espionage attempts," he said.

The president said he could understand companies not wanting to reveal it when their system had been hacked, but said the authorities treated all information with the utmost discretion.

According to Fromm, the Verfassungsschutz recorded 2,100 cases of industrial espionage in 2010. "That's an increase of 40 percent compared to the 1,500 cases in 2009," he added.

He also said that the type and origins of the attacks pointed to foreign intelligence agencies.

DAPD/bk

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