Spy chief urges German firms to take cybersecurity seriously

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Dr. Hans-Georg Maassen, President of the Federal Office for Protection of the Constitution (BfV), attends the reception for the 70th anniversary of 'DER SPIEGEL' at the town hall on January 6, 2017 in Hamburg, Germany. (Photo by Markus Hibbeler/Getty Images)

BERLIN (AP) — The head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency says companies aren’t taking cybersecurity seriously enough at a time when the threat of electronic attacks is rising.

Hans-Georg Maassen says cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns cost German companies up to 50 billion euros ($55 billion) a year.

Maassen said Thursday at a business seminar in Berlin it would be good if authorities were given the power to stop such attacks, and that may mean acquiring the ability to strike back against computer networks used to launch them.

Volker Wagner, the head of German business lobby group ASW, says it is important for companies to remember that “anything that can be hacked will be hacked, sooner or later.”

Wagner says that while security measures are expensive, a successful attack can be far more costly.