Government Survey Warns UK Companies Not To Underestimate Cyber Threats

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2nd December 2013 12:58 - Central Government

A new survey by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has revealed that a mere 14% of FTSE 350 firms are regularly considering cyber threats in their decision making. According to the findings, only a quarter (25%) of leading UK public companies consider cyber threats a top risk area, with only a fifth (17%) having set out clear guidelines to what they consider to be an acceptable level of risk. Just over half (56%) have cyber-attacks on their “risk register”.

These findings are in stark contrast to the reality of the threat from cyber attackers. A survey by the same government department in April recently found that attacks on businesses are on the rise, with the majority (93%) of large organisations having been the victim of a cyber-security breach in 2013. Such attacks have an average cost to major businesses of between £450,000 and £850,000, with several having cost companies millions. Similarly, 87% of small firms experienced an attack, up a tenth (10%) from last year. Affected companies have reported a 50% rise in attacks compared to a year ago.

Science Minister David Willetts said:

“The cyber-crime threat facing UK companies is increasing… Many are already taking this extremely seriously, but more still needs to be done. We are working with businesses to encourage them to make cyber security a board-level responsibility.”

To tackle the growing threat the government is working with the industry to develop an official “cyber standard” which will help stimulate the adoption of good cyber practices among business.

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