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15 March 2017

Cyber breaches affect almost 3 million businesses

Millions of companies fell victim to cybercrime costing almost £30 billion in 2016, new research indicates.

According to a report published by data solutions company Beaming, 2.9 million businesses in the UK had their security compromised by hacking, viruses and phishing attacks last year, at a cost of £29.1 billion.

Sonia Blizzard, managing director of Beaming, says cyber-attacks happen more frequently among large businesses, while for SMEs the damage is likely to be more severe and could "potentially break them".

She said: "Large organisations are more likely to become a victim of cybercrime due to being more valuable targets and because employees are often the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain. They are also more resilient as they have resources to aid their recovery.

"Successful cyberattacks on smaller businesses are less frequent, but cause disproportionately more harm."

The data shows almost a quarter (23%) of businesses report viruses and phishing attacks as the most common corporate cyber threats, while hacking or data breaches impacted almost a fifth (18%).

Failing to act

A Deloitte report, Governance in focus: Cyber risk reporting in the UK , indicates that 87% of large companies have identified cyber risk as a principal threat to their business as part of their annual reports.

Disruption of business, reputational damage and financial loss have been identified as the top three impacts of cyber attacks.

However, just 5% of those firms have a director with IT expertise, and fewer than 11% mention cyber threats in their corporate governance statements.

William Touche, Vice Chairman and leader of Deloitte UK Centre for Corporate Governance, says: "It is not a question of whether there will be cyber-attacks, it probably never was, but it is a question of when, by whom and with what degree of expertise your company will be attacked."

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