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Cyberattacks are the single greatest threat to global stability, German defense minister says

  • Recent cyberattacks have shown that sensitive and personal data have become the target to destabilize companies and governments worldwide.
  • According to von der Leyen, cyber security is going to be the main focus of this decade.

Cyberattacks are the greatest challenge threatening global stability, Germany's defense minister told CNBC Saturday.

Recent cyberattacks, namely NotPetya and WannaCry, have shown that sensitive and personal data have become the target to destabilize companies and governments worldwide — creating what's often described as a war, given the power of the information stolen.

When asked about the "single greatest threat to global stability," Ursula von der Leyen, the German defense minister said: "I think it's the cyber threats because whatever adversaries you can think of and even if you talk about Daesh (the terrorist group) they use the cyber domain to fight against us."

Governments and several international groups have, as a result, boosted their efforts to better protect their networks against such attacks. At the same time, they have also stepped up works to become more offensive on the web against their enemies. The U.K., for example, is reportedly using cyber warfare in order to fight the so-called Islamic State.

According to von der Leyen, cybersecurity is going to be the main focus for this decade as both governments and companies try to protect their data.

"This decade will be the decade of improvement in cyber security and information ruling," she said at the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference.