44% of SMEs believe they are not at risk of cyber-crime


Almost half of all SMEs in the UK said they do not believe they are at risk of becoming the victims of cyber-crime, according to a new survey. This could put them at serious risk if they fail to take adequate steps to protect themselves against attacks.


The study, by insurers Aviva, found that 44% of respondents said they felt they were unlikely to be a target of cyber-criminals. Almost a quarter (23%) said they were worried but did not know what to do about it, while 8% had not considered the risk at all.


A number of high profile cases over recent years might have given the impression that multinationals and other large companies are the preferred targets for cyber-criminals. Angus Eaton, managing director of commercial lines at Aviva, said it would be a mistake to think that criminals only targeted big business however.


The survey found that over a third of smaller businesses polled had already been a victim of cyber-attacks such as hacking, phishing or pharming. 75% of those affected estimated the cost of recovery to be £1,000 or less but 6% said it cost up to £5,000 and a further 4% estimated costs of up to £10,000.


Some of the costs involved could include the cost of actually fixing the issue, loss of assets or intellectual property, theft of money, the payment of ransom demands and damage to a company’s reputation. A serious attack could quite easily leave a business requiring the services of insolvency practitioners.


When asked about the types of cyber-crime they were aware of, 77% of respondents listed phishing, 69% mentioned identity theft and 66% had heard of hacking. Less than half (46%) had heard of pharming, where victims are directed to a fake website disguised as a genuine one. 43% were aware of ransom attacks, where cyber-criminals demanded money for information or to return access to hijacked systems. Around a third (34%) admitted they wouldn’t know what to do if they became a victim of cyber-crime.


By Phil Smith


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