‘One in five’ British firms hit by cyber attack in 2016

One in five British firms was hit by a cyber attack last year, research from the British Chambers of Commerce suggests.

Cyber attacks are a growing threat to global business operations. This was confirmed by research from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), which surveyed 1,200 companies, revealing that one in five British businesses experienced a cyber attack last year.

Larger businesses – defined as those with over 100 staff – were more likely to be attacked than smaller counterparts, according to the survey. The report found that 42% of larger organisations had suffered a cyber attack, compared with 18% of smaller ones.

>See also: Cyber security should be the CTO’s responsibility

Clearly, more needs to be done by businesses to protect themselves. Indeed, the BCC’s report alos found that only a quarter of the firms surveyed had put in security protocols to protect themselves from hackers and cyber threats.

The well documented data breaches of web giant Yahoo, telecoms firm TalkTalk and the dating website Ashley Madison have all hit the headlines in recent years. But this survey has shown just how widespread the problem is. It is endemic.

“Cyber attacks risk companies’ finances, confidence and reputation, with victims reporting not only monetary losses, but costs from disruption to their business and productivity,” said BCC director-general Adam Marshall.

“Firms need to be proactive about protecting themselves from cyber attacks.”

Reacting to the news, Anton Grashion, managing director-security practice at Cylance, said “This is probably an underestimate if anything. Two reasons for this, firstly, this assumes they even know they have been hit, secondly people are more likely to under-report.”

“Evidence of our testing when we run a POC with prospective customers is that we almost invariably discover active malware on their systems so it’s the unconscious acceptance of risk that plagues both large and small businesses.”

>See also: Half of UK firms feel they lack the skills to combat cyber threats

Stephanie Weagle, VP at Corero Network Security, has identified DDoS attacks as the greatest cyber threat facing business.

She said “Attackers will always find new exploits, and new attack methods of disrupting financial opportunity, extortion, accessing personally identifiable data, and disrupting an organisations online availability. Cyber attack activity is prevalent today, more than ever – especially when it comes to DDoS attacks.”

DDoS attacks are on the rise and “continue to increase in frequency, scale and sophistication over the last year. 31% of IT security professional and network operators polled in a 2017 survey conducted by Corero experienced more DDoS attacks than usual in recent months, with 40% now experiencing attacks on a monthly, weekly or even daily basis.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...