UK Government Warns Businesses and Individuals Over Weekly Cyber Threats

The UK government has revealed that almost a third of British businesses are experiencing some form of cyber attack each week. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) has published a new report underlining that the frequency of cyber attacks on businesses and individuals has risen sharply in the last year.

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Approximately 31% of businesses and 26% of charities are now experiencing data attacks or breaches of their security weekly. Almost two-fifths (39%) of all British firms identified as being the victim of a cyber attack in 2021 and so far in 2022. The most common threat is phishing attempts, which were experienced by more than four-fifths (83%) of businesses and entrepreneurs. More than a fifth (21%) also revealed they had been the victim of a more advanced cyber-attack, including the likes of ransomware, malware, and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.

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Source: Unsplash

Although ransomware attacks are less commonplace than phishing attempts, more than half (56%) of British businesses revealed they had a policy in place to deal with unsolicited ransoms. This is quite an impressive figure when you consider just how busy business owners are with growing their operations. Packed diaries and schedules can make it hard for businesses to look beyond the day-to-day, but access to the best cybersecurity podcasts and other cybersecurity material online makes it easier for entrepreneurs to digest the latest developments and activities in order to remain up-to-date.

What is the material outcome of cyber-attacks on UK firms?

The government’s Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2022 found that the average estimated cost of a cyber-attack on a UK business in the last 12 months was £4,200. This figure ramps up to £19,400 when focused solely on cyber-attacks on medium and large-scale enterprises. The material cost of security breaches has seen cyber security move into high-priority territory among most boardrooms and senior management. 82% of boards or senior management figures believe cyber security to be a ‘fairly high’ or ‘very high’ priority, which is up from 77% in the previous year. MP and Cyber Minister, Julia Lopez, urged businesses across the UK to “take cyber security seriously” given that “more business is done online” today and the current era contains “increasing cyber risk”.

How are businesses dealing with their cyber security?

The Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2022 revealed that the majority of small, medium and large-scale businesses choose to outsource their IT and cyber security commitments to trusted third parties. Almost three-fifths (58%) of small businesses ring-fence funds to outsource their cyber security resources, which is more than the number of medium-sized businesses (55%) but slightly less than the number of large-scale businesses (60%).

The UK government is investing vast sums of money in protecting its citizens from the ever-increasing cyber threats, with £2.6 billion ring-fenced as part of a National Cyber Strategy. The funds are being invested in improving cyber education, enhancing the nation’s defensive – and offensive – cyber capabilities and educating the workplace on the importance of cyber protection.