One in three UK businesses faced cyber attacks last year, report says

Nearly a third of businesses and a quarter of charities have said they were the subject of cyber attacks or breaches last year, new data has shown.

Figures collected for the Government by polling company Ipsos show a similar proportion of larger and medium-sized companies and high-income charities faced attacks or breaches last year as in 2021.

However, there has been a fall in the proportion of smaller businesses who say they have identified cyber breaches or attacks.

This is perhaps because smaller businesses have been preoccupied by the worsening economic climate and have placed less focus on their cybersecurity, the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology said.

Overall, 32% of businesses said they had been subject to attacks or breaches over a 12-month period, with 24% of charities saying the same. This is down from 39% and 30% respectively in 2021.

However, these levels were much higher among medium-sized businesses (59%), large businesses (69%) and charities which earn more than £500,000 a year (56%).

It comes as many major businesses have been faced with high-profile breaches in the last year.

Royal Mail had to limit its services for weeks after hackers locked its files and demanded 80 million dollars (£67 million) to unlock them again.

WH Smith said in March that hackers had accessed some of its data in another major incident while at the start of the year JD Sports said the email addresses, phone numbers and physical addresses of about 10 million people might have been stolen in another attack.

The proportion of micro-sized businesses which say that cybersecurity is a high priority dropped from 80% to 69%. The department said that is because these companies are more focused on issues like inflation.

Meanwhile, about one in ten businesses (11%) and 8% of charities said they had been the victims of cyber crime – which is defined more narrowly – over the 12-month period.

This rose to a quarter (26%) of medium-sized businesses, 37% of large businesses and 25% of high-income charities.

The Government estimated there had been 2.4 million instances of cyber crime against UK businesses, costing an average of £15,300 per victim.

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