Report: Nearly Half(!) of all UK Businesses Struck by Cyberattacks

Nearly half of all UK businesses have suffered a cyberattack or a breach in 2016, according to an official report.

Cyberattacks targeting UK businesses have doubled in 2016, with a staggering 46% of companies suffering a breach or an attack on their computer networks and systems, compared to 24% in 2015. The official figures come from a report from the UK’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) aptly titled ‘Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2017’.

Worryingly, the Government body has warned that a “sizeable proportion” of businesses do not have the necessary protections required to prevent attacks and breaches that could ostensibly lead to loss of private customer data.

The DCMS surveyed 1,523 British businesses and figures showed an average loss in costs per attack at £1,570 for all businesses. Large companies are predictably targeted more often, with costs rising to nearly £20,000 per large company.

Tellingly, personal data is still a big lure for cybercriminals, with businesses that hold electronic personal data of customers more likely to suffer an attack compared to companies that do not (51% compared to 37%).

“UK businesses must treat cybersecurity as a top priority if they want to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the UK’s vibrant digital economy,” stated Ciaran Martin, CEO of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). “The majority of successful cyberattacks are not that sophisticated but can cause serious commercial damage. By getting the basic defenses right, businesses of every size can protect their reputation, finances and operating capabilities.”

The most common type of attack were fraudulent emails, which affected a sweeping 72% of all companies surveyed. One startling example reveals a large wholesale business reportedly at the receiving end of 340,000 fraudulent emails in 2016.

These emails also contain malware and viruses that download onto targeted computers and networks when employees mistakenly trigger the malware embedded in those fraudulent emails.

The good news from 2016 is that businesses have started to take the threat of cyberattacks seriously, with 75% of all firms surveyed revealing that cybersecurity was a high priority for senior managers and directors. 9 out of 10 businesses are now regularly updating their malware -protection software while two-thirds of businesses have invested in cybersecurity measures.

Still, some experts suggest that the figures revealed could be misleading, insisting that the threat of cyberattacks is far more widespread than the report’s revelations.

According to the Telegraph, Anton Grashion, managing director at US-based cybersecurity software firm Cylance stated:

This is probably an underestimate if anything. Firstly, this assumes they even know when they have been hit. Secondly, people are more likely to under-report.

Image credit: Pexels.