Cyber attacks hit two thirds of UK firms in 2015, says government | Tech News

Two thirds of UK firms have detected security breaches on their systems over the past year, according to the latest government figures.

Staggeringly, a quarter of those companies—which employ more than 250 workers—were hit by a breach at least once a month.

On Sunday, the government released its so-called Cyber Security Breaches Survey (PDF)—with stats garnered from phone calls with 1,008 UK businesses.

One company lost £3 million in the wake of a cyber attack on its systems. According to the department for culture, media, and sport—which commissioned the survey—an average breach cost businesses £36,500 a pop.

“Too many firms are losing money, data and consumer confidence with the vast number of cyber attacks,” said digital economy minister Ed Vaizey. “It’s absolutely crucial businesses are secure and can protect data.”

According to the survey, 68 percent of the cyber attacks that struck UK businesses over the past year were based on viruses, spyware, or malware. The other 32 percent of cases involved a company being fraudulently impersonated by hackers.

Only about a half of the businesses had acted on government recommendations to address cyber risks, the survey showed. While just 29 percent of those firms had formal cybersecurity policies in place, the report stated.

The government also announced a National Cyber Security Centre, which will apparently begin operating in the autumn with the promise of helping businesses tackle cybersecurity issues. It forms part of the government’s planned taxpayer-funded £1.9 billion spend on cybersecurity—a five-year-long pledge to crackdown on the problem.

Additionally, the government—in the wake of the security breach on UK budget ISP TalkTalk—has released its Cyber Governance Health Check Report (PDF), which covers FTSE 350 companies. It revealed that about half of the businesses described cyber attacks as a top risk, and 77 percent of the UK’s top firms had allocated cash in an effort to protect consumer data from potential breaches.

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