Two Thirds Of Big U.K. Businesses Suffer a Cyber Attack

Cyber attacks

Two-thirds of big businesses in the United Kingdom have experienced a cyber attack in the last year, according to the government’s Cyber Security Breaches Survey, the BBC reported. The attacks mostly came from malware, viruses or spyware. A quarter of the big companies suffered a cyber breach once a month at minimum.

Ed Vaizey, the Digital Economy Minister, said it was critical for businesses to be able to protect data. The Internet-linked attacks have cost millions of pounds in some cases.

Talk Talk Attack Raises Awareness

The government released the results of the survey along with the Cyber Governance Health Check, which launched after the October Talk Talk cyber attack.

The broadband and phone provider said some of its personal information and banking details could have been compromised in the breach. The company has more than 4 million customers in the U.K.

The government is now encouraging companies to protect themselves better.
“The U.K. is a world-leading digital economy, and this government has made cyber security a top priority,” Vaizey said. He noted that too many companies have lost data, money and consumer confidence on account of the number of cyber attacks. He said it was “absolutely crucial” that companies be secure and able to protect data.

Also read: Compromised bank accounts on the rise in the United Kingdom

Most Attacks Could Have Been Prevented

The survey indicated 70% of the attacks could have been prevented. It said only a fifth of companies understood the dangers of sharing data with third parties.

A total of 69% of businesses said cyber security is a high priority for senior managers. However, only 5% have taken recommended actions to identify cyber risk. Only 29% have formal written cyber security polices and only 10% have a formal incident management plan.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport commissioned the research as part of the National Cyber Security Program. Ipsos MORI conducted the research in partnership with the Institute for Criminal Justice Studies at the University of Portsmouth, and comprised:

a representative telephone survey of 1,008 U.K. businesses from November 2015 to 5 February 2016

a total of 30 in-depth interviews undertaken in January and February 2016 to follow up businesses that participated in the survey

In the next five years, the government is investing £1.9 billion to prevent cyber crime. A new National Cyber Security Centre will provide security support.

The government will publish a national cyber security strategy later this year, establishing proposals to upgrade online security for government, businesses, and consumers.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

Lester Coleman is a veteran business journalist based in the United States. He has covered the payments industry for several years and is available for writing assignments.