Half of UK firms hit by cyber breach, DCMS figures show

The Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) has urged companies to protect themselves against cyber crime after statistics have found nearly half of all UK businesses suffered a cyber breach or attack in the past 12 months.

The Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2017 revealed nearly 70 per cent of large businesses identified a breach or attack, with the average cost to large businesses of all breaches over the period being £20,000 and in some cases reaching millions. The survey also shows businesses holding electronic personal data on customers were much more likely to suffer cyber breaches than those that do not (51 per cent compared to 37 per cent).

The report showed the most common cyber attacks were via fraudulent emails, followed by viruses and malware, such as people impersonating the organisation online and ransomware.

Businesses also identified these common breaches as their single most disruptive breach. The DCMS highlighted that the vast majority of them could have been prevented using the government-backed, industry supported Cyber Essentials scheme, a source of expert guidance showing how to protect against these threats.

The DCMS warned that new statistics show businesses across the UK are being targeted by cyber criminals every day and the scale and size of the threat is growing, which risks damaging profits and customer confidence.

Ciaran Martin, CEO of the National Cyber Security Centre, said: “UK businesses must treat cyber security as a top priority if they want to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the UK’s vibrant digital economy.

“The majority of successful cyber attacks are not that sophisticated but can cause serious commercial damage. By getting the basic defences right, businesses of every size can protect their reputation, finances and operating capabilities.

“Cyber Essentials, technical advice on CiSP and regularly updated guidance on the NCSC website offers companies, big and small, simple steps that can significantly reduce the risk of a successful attack.”

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