Bosses must be fully prepared in the increasingly complicated fight against breaches of data, hacking and phishing scams. With British companies reporting a 22 per cent increase in cybercrime in 2016, resulting in losses of more than £1bn, security should now be the top priority for UK business leaders…
1. The UK’s 5.4 million small businesses are collectively attacked more than seven million times a year
This costs the UK economy a staggering £5.26bn, according to a survey carried out by the Federation of Small Businesses. Although 93 per cent of small businesses have some kind of cyber security in place, around 66 per cent have been a victim of cyber crime in the last two years. During that period, those affected have been victims on four occasions on average.
2. One of the biggest threats to data safety can come from BYOD – “bring your own device”
In many cases when staff bring personal devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones into work they are not protected by the company’s security network, which presents an opportunity for hackers to directly access company data through these devices. Be particularly vigilant in the period after Christmas when new devices are being used for the first time.
3. ‘Whaling’ has become a boom industry
Last year Austrian aerospace parts maker FACC was swindled out of a colossal €42m (£37m) by hackers using a phishing scam known as ‘whaling’. This scam targets a company’s CEO or finance officer – aka the ‘one big fish’ – by tricking them into rushing through a large payment for a fake acquisition. According to a report by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in June last year, identified losses from this type of scam came to £3.1bn (£2.4bn) and had risen by 1,300 per cent in 18 months.
4. Over 43 per cent of IoD members don’t know where their company’s data is physically stored
Last year, the IoD conducted a Policy Voice Survey focusing specifically on cyber security, investigating how fast the pace of technology is changing our members’ attitudes and views on cyber security. The fact that so many respondents didn’t know where their data is stored is a truly frightening statistic. It effectively means businesses are losing control of their organisation’s data, which may well be the biggest asset of a business.
5. 72 per cent of respondents to the IoD’s Policy Voice survey have received a bogus invoice
This shows the extent of social engineering and how the internet can be used to defraud businesses. Along with false house purchase completion requests for solicitors this is truly alarming. This is why human interaction with technology needs to be failsafe and why cyber is becoming a largely human problem.
6. There were 404,000 cases in the UK of unauthorised access to personal information from July 2014 to June 2015
Figures issued by Office for National Statistics revealed an alarming fact about the size of cyber crime and fraud leading directly to a debate about how policing resources should be allocated in the future. It should be noted that these are only cases reported to the authorities; the real figure is undoubtedly higher.
7. On average, it takes 120 days for a business to know that its data has been compromised
According to a UK government report published last year, 25 of the large firms who detected a cyber security breach or attack in the past year experience a breach at least once per month.