Volkswagen, the automotive giant, found itself at the center of a large-scale industrial espionage episode, with traces leading to hackers based in China. The incident sheds light on the intricate web of cyber threats faced by global corporations. Here’s an overview of the situation:


    The Breach and Subsequent Investigations:

    • More than 40 internal documents obtained by “frontal” and “DER SPIEGEL” unveil a concerning trend of cyber intrusions targeting Volkswagen.
    • Suspected Chinese state hackers allegedly launched coordinated attacks on Volkswagen’s networks, spanning several years beginning in 2010.
    • The hackers infiltrated Volkswagen’s systems, pilfering valuable intellectual property, including data related to engine development, transmission technology, and crucially, e-mobility.
    • Despite occurring between 2010 and 2015, the repercussions of the breach continue to reverberate, particularly in the fiercely competitive e-mobility market.

    The Role of Stolen Data in Market Dynamics:

    • The stolen data encompassed a wide array of critical automotive technologies, granting the perpetrators a significant advantage in the cutthroat automotive landscape.
    • Professor Helena Wisbert from Ostfalia University underscores the pivotal role of such clandestine acquisitions, emphasizing their impact on international competition.
    • Chinese manufacturers’ growing dominance in the electric vehicle sector underscores the potency of stolen knowledge in reshaping industry dynamics.

    The China Connection:

    • While China is not explicitly implicated, circumstantial evidence points towards Beijing, with IP addresses and software characteristics hinting at Chinese origins.
    • Volkswagen’s meticulous timing in expelling the hackers, coinciding with the end of China’s workday, underscores the geographical nexus of the cyber threat.
    • The Chinese embassy in Berlin vehemently denies any state-sponsored involvement, labeling accusations of cyber espionage as baseless and unfounded.

    Volkswagen’s Response and Future Preparations:

    • Volkswagen acknowledges the breach, emphasizing its occurrence a decade ago and highlighting subsequent investments in bolstering IT security.
    • Claudia Plattner, President of the Federal Office for Information Security, underscores the ongoing risk posed by industrial espionage, particularly from China.
    • The incident serves as a stark reminder of the imperative for continuous vigilance and investment in cybersecurity measures.


    As Volkswagen grapples with the fallout from this significant breach, the broader implications for global cybersecurity and corporate resilience come sharply into focus. The incident underscores the pressing need for heightened awareness and proactive measures to safeguard against evolving cyber threats in an increasingly interconnected world.

    Source Article:
    Der große Hack bei VW – China im Fokus


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