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German Chambers of Industry and Commerce hit by cyberattack

The German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) has suffered from a serious cyberattack.

Image: © AFP
Image: © AFP

The German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), a coalition of 79 chambers representing companies within the German state with over three million members comprising businesses ranging from small shops to large enterprises in the country, has been hit by a cyberattack.

The organization deals with legal representation, consultation, foreign trade promotion, training, regional economic development, and offers general support services to its members.

The full extent of the attack, whether it can be categorized as a ransomware attack and whether customer data was leaked is still unknown. In the meantime, DIHK has had to shut down its IT systems and switch off phones, email servers, and digital services while its IT team brainstorms a solution.

Looking into the issue for Digital Journal is Blake Lohn-Wiley, Security Solutions Architect at Swimlane.

Blake Lohn-Wiley  places the recent attack in German in the context of similar security breaches: “This cyberattack on Germany’s Chambers of Industry and Commerce is yet another example of a cyberattack targeting critical business infrastructures in the last few months.”

With the specific context, Blake Lohn-Wiley states: “In this case, DIHK was forced to shut down all of its IT systems, phones, digital services and email servers to allow IT teams time to recommend a solution. Although details are still emerging, over 3 million German businesspeople have been impacted, ranging from members of small businesses to large organizations.”

Blake Lohn-Wiley adds: “Fortunately, there haven’t been any announcements of successfully compromising DIHK on any common ransomware extortion sites, but system shutdown still points to signs of ransomware.”

There are some lessons that enterprises can draw from the incident. Blake Lohn-Wiley sets these out: “When dealing with ransomware and other cyberattacks, repercussions go beyond just the sensitive information at risk of exposure that is stored in these targeted IT systems. When organizations are forced into a systemwide shutdown, day-to-day business operations are often suspended, leading to loss of revenue and customer trust.”

As a remediation, Blake Lohn-Wiley recommends: “To lessen the chances of cyberattacks with such massive repercussions, organizations should prioritize their cybersecurity posture by adopting systemwide, low-code security automation. Security automation allows these critical business entities to utilize streamlined detection capabilities and implement proper incident response.”

In addition, Blake Lohn-Wiley advises: “By leveraging low-code security automation, organizations can ensure top-notch protection free of human error that keeps businesses up and running without interruption and ensures protection of sensitive information.”

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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