UK businesses subjected to 2,000 new cyber attacks daily in Q1 2021

Beaming’s analysis of commercial internet traffic found that UK businesses encountered 172,079 cyber attacks each, on average, between January and March 2021, the equivalent of 1,912 per day.

This is up from 1,725 attacks per day in Q1 2020, and was the highest level of malicious web activity seen in the first three months of the year since Beaming began recording cyber attack data in 2016.

A line graph showing the amount of cyber attacks targeting UK businesses between April 2018 and March 2021.
Beaming’s cyber attack figures for UK businesses from April 2018. Source: Beaming

Broadband provider Beaming’s cyber security analysts identified 305,136 unique IP addresses used to launch cyber attacks over the internet on UK businesses during Q1.

While 41,923 of these IP addresses were traced to locations in China, the research also identified high levels of offensive cyber activities originating from the US (32,843) and India (19,392).

A line chart showing the figures for cyber attacks by country of origin.
Beaming’s figures for cyber attacks by country of origin since April 2018. Source: Beaming

In terms of specific parts of the company network, remotely controlled IoT applications and file-sharing services were found to be the most likely targets for online cyber criminals, attracting 175 and 100 attacks per day respectively between January and March 2021.

The importance of endpoint security in breaking the cyber kill chain

With more remote devices connected to the corporate network, Corey Nachreiner, CTO of WatchGuard looks at the importance of endpoint security in breaking the cyber kill chain. Read here

“The number of cyber attacks launched against UK businesses surged as the country went into Covid lockdown last year, and has remained at exceptionally high levels ever since,” said Sonia Blizzard, managing director of Beaming.

“Our analysis shows some respite in February, but this was bookended by record levels of malicious web activity in January and March.

“The mass move to home and hybrid working means that company data and IT systems are now being accessed via a wide range of personal equipment on unmanaged domestic internet connections. Each offers a potential point of failure for hackers to gain access to company systems over the public internet, and hackers are doubling down to take advantage of vulnerabilities created by this fundamentally less secure way of working.

“Businesses should speak with their ISPs or IT specialists to discuss what more they can do to help secure their data and systems, especially if they expect employees to continue working from home for at least some of the working week.”

Avatar photo

Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.