Germany Faces ‘Ticking Time Bombs’ in the Form of Cyberattacks

BONN, Germany—It was a cyberattack that showed just how vulnerable Germany’s digital infrastructure truly is. In the summer of 2017, a group of hackers infiltrated NetCom BW, a regional telecommunications provider with about 43,000 subscribers in the state of Baden-Württemberg in Germany’s southwest. Given the company’s modest size, it may not seem like a prime target. But NetCom BW is a subsidiary of EnBW, one of Germany’s biggest power utilities. EnBW is part of what the government regards as its critical infrastructure: companies that operate crucial public services, from electricity to telecommunications to health care.

When news of the breach emerged in mid-May, a spokesperson from EnBW said that the hackers only gained limited access to the provider’s networks for a few minutes before its IT team fended off the incursion. A serious cyberattack… Read more