Written by Adnan Essa
Posted on 14/05/2013

Government warns businesses are ‘more at risk than ever’ from cyber attacks

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Businesses affected by cyber attacks have experienced around 50 per cent more attacks on average than a year ago, according to research commissioned by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

As a result the Government has warned that businesses are ‘more at risk than ever’ from cyber attacks. The survey found that 87 per cent of small firms had experienced a security breach last year, up ten per cent. In addition 93 per cent of large organisations had been targeted over the same period.

Attacks can cost a small business six per cent of its turnover, with the worst security breaches costing between £35,000 and £65,000. Large businesses also took a hit with the average cost between £450,000 and £850,000.

Losing this amount of money can set a business back, delaying investment and growth plans and if the business is already struggling may cause them to fail. The survey also identified several individual security breaches that cost more than £1 million.

University and Science Minister David Willetts, said, “Keeping electronic information safe and secure is vital to a business’s bottom line.

“Companies are more at risk than ever of having their cyber security compromised, in particular small businesses, and no sector is immune from attack.”

Sensitive information gained from cyber attacks can then be used for fraudulent activity. Using Graydon allows businesses to reduce the potential risk of commercial fraud. XSeption is a software risk tracker that spots and highlights activity that may be fraudulent, including company identity fraud.

The BIS survey results also found tat 78 per cent of large organisations were attacks by an unauthorised outsider (up from 73 per cent a year ago). This figure stood at 63 per cent for small businesses (up from 41 per cent a year ago).

Andrew Millet, PwC information security director, said, “UK businesses face more advanced threats than ever before from unauthorised outsiders. The business world has changed and companied of all sizes, in all countries and across industries, are now routinely sharing information across business borders, whether it’s with business partners or employees’ personal device.”

Mr Millet added this cyber security is ‘critical’ to a business’ ‘growth and reputation’.  Having measure in place to protect a business is becoming increasingly vital as more business activities move online.