UNTERFÖHRING (dpa-AFX) - Fear of a criminal cyber attack remains the biggest concern for managers and security professionals despite high inflation, energy worries and the Ukraine war. Cybercrime again ranked first as the biggest threat to businesses in the "Risk Barometer" published Tuesday by AGCS, an industrial insurer that is part of Allianz. In second place is the disruption of operations often associated with it, as hackers frequently paralyze the operations of attacked companies when they attack with extortion software.

AGCS surveyed 2712 security professionals and managers from 94 countries last fall for the new edition of the annual report, more than ever before. Among them were nearly 1,300 executives from large companies with more than $500 million in annual sales.

In Germany, the picture differs somewhat from the global view, with business disruption ranking first, ahead of cybercrime, and concerns about energy prices and supply ranking third.

As for cybercrime, the survey says data theft is the biggest problem for businesses, followed by ransomware extortion. The AGCS points to estimates that the average cost to businesses following data theft rose to a new record $4.35 million in 2022. This is expected to rise further to over five million dollars in 2023, according to the report.

However, the uncertain global situation and economic uncertainty are certainly reflected in the report: concerns about unfavorable macroeconomic developments now rank third, energy worries take fourth place and fear of politically motivated violence tenth.

Corona, on the other hand, no longer plays a major role, with the pandemic slipping out of the top ten and into the lower ranks. Climate change and natural disasters have also lost some of their urgency in the estimation of the managers and experts surveyed. The former slipped from sixth to seventh place, the latter from third to sixth.

The shortage of skilled workers is now evidently perceived as a problem by companies worldwide and appears in eighth place for the first time in the list of the ten biggest business risks.

"Companies - especially in Europe and the U.S. - are concerned about the ongoing "perma-crisis" resulting from the aftermath of the pandemic and the economic and political impact of the ongoing war in Ukraine," commented AGCS CEO Joachim Müller. "The current situation is a stress test for any company."/cho/DP/mis