Aug 16, 2020 | Articles, Cyber Security, GDPR

UK cyber-crime rate has doubled in the past five years

Howard Freeman

Howard Freeman

The number of UK businesses that have suffered cyber-attacks has doubled in the past five years, according to a new report.

Hastings based Beaming’s Five Years in Cyber Security found that 1.5 million organisations fell victim to cyber-crime in 2019. This equates to 25% of all UK businesses This compares to 13% in 2015.

Phishing and malware were the most common tools for cyber-crime. The report suggested that the larger the organisation, the more likely they were to fall victim.

Phishing attacks were successful 29% of the time among small businesses. Malware was successful 20% of the time. However, in large businesses, those numbers jumped to 38% and 31%.

Attacks are not just a case of criminal hackers breaking into an organisation’s systems. In fact, employees have been consistently responsible for over a third of breaches. Whether through malicious intent or neglect was not determined.

Cost to businesses

Beaming calculates that UK business lost almost £13 billion due to cyber-crime in 2019. This factors in damaged assets, financial penalties and lost productivity The total cost over the past five years is more than £87 billion.

On the plus side, the average cost of breaches has fallen from £26,000 per incident in 2015 to £6,000 in 2019. This increase is offset by the increase in overall number of incidents, however.

The report also found that there isn’t a huge discrepancy between the cost of a breach and criminals’ attack method. This did not include IoT (Internet of Things) attacks and crypto jacking.

The number of unique IP addresses used in attacks on UK businesses was 394,000 in the first quarter of 2020. 48,000 of them were from locations in China. Since the second quarter of 2018, this number was the lowest from China in UK business attacks. Compared to the 88,000 addresses identified in the last quarter of 2019, this is a substantial reduction.

Businesses can reduce the risk by certifying to the government backed Cyber Essentials scheme. This can reduce the threat of attacks by up to 70%.

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