Cyber attacks cost UK businesses £34 billion last year

UK businesses paying billions in damages because of cyber attacks over the last year, a new study finds.

Businesses need to teach employees the risks of cyber attacks and how to stay secure.

Businesses need to teach employees the risks of cyber attacks and how to stay secure.

Cyber attacks cost UK companies more than £34 billion last year according to new research from Beaming.

Beaming’s survey shows that the bills for managing malware and data theft incidents amounting to £7.5 billion and £6.2 billion respectively.

The report comes after Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond released the National Cyber Security Strategy on Wednesday.

One in eight (13 per cent) leaders say their IT infrastructure had been damaged by viruses over the last 12 months, costing infected organisations £10,516 in time and money spent managing each incident.

Seven per cent of leaders admit their organisations were hit by cyber attacks in the last year, with the average cost of each attack estimated to be £16,264.

More than fifth (22 per cent) of business leaders say they were ‘highly concerned’ about the threat of computer viruses.

Fear of hackers was greatest among large companies, of which a third (33 per cent) expressed a high level of concern but 44 per cent of firms only have basic levels of cyber security protection in place.

22 per cent of all businesses now discuss cyber security regularly at board level, with half (49 per cent) of businesses already enhancing the cyber security defences that protect their technology and communications networks.

Sonia Blizzard, managing director of Beaming, thinks the government’s commitment to fighting cybercrime is good news but it doesn’t guarantee our safety. It is a work in progress and the private sector needs to take responsibility here.

She adds, ‘We don’t want to give businesses a false sense of security here. The number of specialist investigators seems low given the size of the threat and we need clarity around the reporting of cybercrime if we are to have faith in anything being done.

‘The onus is on businesses to protect themselves. The biggest threat of all is human and all employees are responsible for data security, not just the IT department.’

Blizzard concludes, ‘We are seeing an arms race between businesses that rely on the internet and those who use it for malicious purposes. Companies need to recognise this, understand where their data is kept and take steps to secure it.’

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