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Data Breach

Published: 16/05/18 by Becky Ashton

Nearly half of all UK businesses hit by security breach

Despite all the warnings about the financial and reputational damage a cyber attack can cause, nearly half of all businesses in the UK are still refusing to take them seriously.

Research, released by the UK government, found that 43% of all businesses have been hit by a breach in the last 12 months, with that number rising to 66% among larger companies.

Business e-mail compromise (BEC) fraud, which is a phishing attack where a cybercriminal impersonates a senior executive and attempts to coerce staff, customers or vendors to transfer funds or information, was among the most costly.

Between 2016/17 it was the third most common way that companies were defrauded with 1,500 companies reporting an incident.

The worrying statistic though is the fact that they have cost UK businesses £32.2million.

That is though despite the report stating that typically, organisations incur no specific financial cost from cybersecurity breaches.

Instead, it’s about lost files, corrupted software or systems and stolen intellectual property.

According to Action Fraud though this was not the case for Dublin Zoo, who in 2017 was hit by a BEC scam which cost them $600,000. They had legitimate supplier invoices intercepted and payment details changes so they made the payments straight into the criminal’s accounts – proving just how easy it can be.

During the same period, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) recorded 34 ‘significant’ cyber attacks, which are defined by those which require a cross-government response.

The WannaCry ransomware attack, which saw machines rendered unusable and ransoms of $300 in Bitcoins demanded was probably the most prominent attack.

In total 300,000 computers in 150 different countries were affected. Here in the UK, the biggest victims were the NHS, who saw chaos caused and nearly 7000 appointments cancelled.

They also recorded 762 ‘less serious’ incidents.

Ciaran Martin, chief executive of the National Cyber Security Centre, said: “Cyber attacks can inflict serious commercial damage and reputational harm, but most campaigns are not highly sophisticated.

“Companies can significantly reduce their chances of falling victim by following simple cybersecurity steps to remove basic weaknesses.”

Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries Margot James added: “We are strengthening the UK’s data protection laws to make them fit for the digital age but these new figures show many organisations need to act now to make sure the personal data they hold is safe and secure.”

The average cost of a cybersecurity breach was £3,100 but the loss of trust caused by the attack could eventually prove far more costly.

Make sure you’re not a statistic in the next report and give us a call to see how we can help you stay safe and not be a victim!

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