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Two thirds of large UK businesses hit by cyber attacks in last year

James Pearce
May 9, 2016

Figures from DCMS found nearly seven out of 10 attacks on all firms involved viruses, spyware or malware

Government research has found that more than two thirds of large businesses in the UK have been hit with a cyber attack or breach within the past year.

Figures from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport found that nearly seven out of 10 attacks on all firms involved some form of virus, spyware or malware.

DCMS urged businesses to better protect themselves, warning “millions of pounds” had been lost in the attacks, many of which it claims could have been avoided using the Government’s Cyber Essentials scheme.

The Cyber Essentials scheme offers free cyber security guidance and training for businesses.

In its latest cyber health check, the government also found that one in four large businesses experienced a breach at least once a month, but only half have taken any recommended actions to identify and address vulnerabilities.

Only a third have formal written cyber security policies and only 10 per cent have an incident management plan in place.

Ed-Vaizey-webMinister for the digital economy Ed Vaizey said: “The UK is a world-leading digital economy and this Government has made cyber security a top priority. Too many firms are losing money, data and consumer confidence with the vast number of cyber attacks.

“It’s absolutely crucial businesses are secure and can protect data. As a minimum companies should take action by adopting the Cyber Essentials scheme which will help them protect themselves.”

Unclear view

Other key figures from the government’s latest cyber health check, which was launched int he wake of last year’s TalkTalk cyber breach, found only a third of the UK’s top 350 businesses understand the threat of a cyber attack.

It also found only a fifth of businesses have a clear view of the dangers of sharing information with third parties, but many firms are beginning to adapt policies, with almost two thirds now setting out their approach to cyber security in their annual report.

Both surveys form part of the Government’s plans to help businesses tackle cyber crime, which will see £1.9 billion invested over the next five years.

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