Multiple German companies, such as energy technology company Siemens (SIEGY), chemical firm BASF (BASFY) and consumer goods company Henkel have been targeted by cyberattacks that were allegedly connected to the Chinese government. 

German media has reported that at least eight companies have been targeted by hackers. It wasn't only German firms that were targeted. Swiss pharma giant Roche, Indonesian airline Lionair and U.S. hotel chain Mariott were also attacked. 

The attacks have been connected to a Chinese state-backed hacking group, known as Winnti. There is also a form of malware with the same name.

"Any DAX company that hasn't been attacked by Winnti must be doing something wrong," one IT expert said, according to a German publication. The DAX refers to 30 major German companies that trade on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange

The Winnti group has also frequently targeted the video game industry and supposedly attacked Valve Software, which owns the Steam gaming platform. 

In 2011, Gameforge, a German company based in the city of Karlsruhe, was also attacked by Winnti.

Cyberattacks are becoming a prominent concern for Europe's largest economy, which is also a leading voice in the European Union.

EU member states have implemented regulations that would require major companies to report to the government if they experience a cyberattack.

A September 2017 study found that cyberattacks cost the German manufacturing industry 43 billion euros, or $50 billion. Germany relies on small and medium-sized companies as the foundation of its economy, which is called the Mittelstand. The study found that these companies were especially susceptible to cyberattacks. 

In 2015, the German government established information security standards that would apply to German hospitals, water utilities, telecommunications and other providers of essential services. 

If the organizations do not follow the standards, they could be fined 100,000 euros ($111,347). The regulation applies to 2,000 German institutions deemed to be "critical infrastructure."

Germany's main cybersecurity watchdog is the Federal Office for Information Security. The organization is located in Germany's former capital of Bonn and has more than 600 employees.

The aim of the organization is to"investigate the security risks associated with the use of IT and develop preventative security measures."