Cyber criminals increase attacks on UK SMEs

Cyber-attacks on the UK’s small businesses surpassed 1,000 a day in late 2016, according to new figures.

Attacks on individual businesses more than doubled during the last year, with the average business subjected to nearly 230,000 cyber-attacks across the 12 month period.

An analysis from Beaming found that the number of attacks hitting company firewalls passed the 1,000 a day mark for the first time in November.

A major focus among hackers was found to be on connected devices and the Internet of Things, including devices that can be controlled from a remote location.

Attacks on such devices increased by 310% between the first and last quarters of 2016, with more than 90% of cyber-attacks at the end of the year targeting businesses via connected workplace devices.

The vast majority of attacks come from outside the UK too – the study found that 98% of attacks come from elsewhere in the world – while the number of unique internet provider addresses used for attacks increased five-fold last year.

Beaming have suggested that the number of elements involved in cyber-crime have increased in the last 12 months and state that businesses need to ensure they are adequately protected.

Constantly reviewing firewall processes is key and businesses have been warned to prioritise security over convenience.

Cyber-attacks can carry consider costs to a businesses, as they will often be costly to solve once they are identified.

Figures from 2016 suggest that cyber security incidents cost UK firms in the region of £34 billion, with those hit by malware having to spend more than £10,000 per incident to put things right.

Further research from BAE Systems found that one in ten firms that were hit by cyber-attacks reported losses of more than £1 million.

The average cost of attacks meanwhile was reported at £330,000, meaning pressures can be placed on businesses that are operating on tight margins.

Failing to take adequate action could therefore force companies into insolvency in extreme circumstances, especially if solutions cannot be found.

Having a contingency plan in place to protect against such outcomes is recommended, while forensic accounting practices may unearth criminal or fraudulent activity on business accounts.

By Phil Smith

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