Cybercrime is assuming increasingly threatening proportions. Eight out of ten people have been affected by criminal incidents online in the past twelve months, according to the digital association Bitkom. If you want to protect yourself better, you need to know the targets of cybercriminals.

The Internet is increasingly becoming the means and the scene of a crime

The 2021 police crime statistics, published in April 2022, clearly show that cybercrime is an area that has seen continuous increases for years. Here, 146,363 cases were recorded last year. That is an increase of 12.1 percent, according to the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA). Cybercrime affects private individuals as well as companies. In the last 12 months, 32 percent of companies have had damage caused by IT security incidents, according to the eco IT Security Survey 2022. If an IT security incident occurs, then, as in previous years, the company is usually the victim of a ransomware attack (21 percent). Extortion Trojans are very popular with cybercriminals. Website hacking is in second place with 18 percent.

Cyber attacks are mostly financially motivated

While it was previously assumed that many online attacks take place because the attackers want to try out and demonstrate their hacking skills, it has been certain for some years that the motives behind the attacks are mostly financial: One wants to clear account holdings, steal cryptocurrencies, or carry out a criminal contract work for payment, an espionage job, or an attack on the „customer’s“ competitor. Even if, in the end, it is mostly about money, the cybercriminals‘ targets are first and foremost data. After all, data is valuable and can provide access to bank accounts, for example. Successful cyberattacks therefore also mean that data protection has unfortunately not been sufficient.

Data protectionists warn against cybercrime

„Poor data security usually also reveals weaknesses in data protection,“ said Andreas Schurig, Sachsen´s data protection commissioner at the time. „This is not only a threat to the existence of the companies concerned, but also to people whose data comes into the possession of criminals. Identity theft is one of the worst consequences. Those affected are threatened with total financial and social loss,“ warns the data protection expert. In times of advancing digitalization and rampant cybercrime, the protection of personal data is thus becoming even more important. This is also being felt by Internet users: in the past twelve months, fear of cybercrime has risen significantly. According to the Digital Association Bitkom

  • 85 percent from illegal use of personal data by companies (2020: 79 percent) and
  • 83 percent from malware (2020: 75 percent).
  • Illegal use of passwords and accounts is feared by 62 percent of Internet users.

Fear of cyberattacks alone does not protect

There is no doubt that it is good not to be careless when using the Internet and to think about what could happen. However, we should be very clear about what cybercriminals are targeting: personal data. Data protection is therefore also a key safeguard against cybercrime and will not become an obstacle with the digital transformation. On the contrary, data protection is absolutely essential in order to offer cybercriminals as much resistance as possible.

Do you know what cybercriminals want? Take the test!

Question: Internet criminals are interested in the money and not the data. Only the advertising industry wants the data. Is that right?

  1. No, the cybercriminals have financial motives, but to get money they misuse and sell data.
  2. Yes, data protection has nothing to do with protection against cybercrime.

Solution: Answer 1. is correct. The main target of any cyberattack is data, and most of this data is personal. In 63 percent of the companies where sensitive digital data was recently stolen, it was communication data, according to Bitkom. But this data usually contains personal information.

Question: We are powerless against Internet criminals. The internet is dangerous. Is that right?

  1. Yes, ultimately nothing can be done against cyberattacks.
  2. No, if you protect the data, cyber attacks can occur, but the attackers cannot capture data.

Solution: Answer 2. is correct. It is true that there is no one hundred percent protection against cybercriminals; one must assume that successful cyberattacks will occur. But the target of the attacks, the data, can be protected far better than it is today. If the data is heavily encrypted, for example, a cybercriminal can steal it, but can’t do anything with it. These are the targets of cybercriminals: Your data!