Dealing with hacking attacks is costing UK businesses some £34bn a year, according to a study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) and security firm Veracode.
The CEBR said that the £34bn is split between £18bn in lost revenue owing to the attacks and £16bn in extra investment in security systems.
This paints a grim picture of the current security landscape and underlines the long-standing view that the technology security battleground is an ever evolving arms race.
This divide between spending and benefit is limiting growth, according to the study and its participants, and many suggested that investment could be spent more productively elsewhere.
The finger of blame, at least in part, is being pointed at the UK government, which is accused of letting industry down.
"The UK economy is under siege from cyber attackers, and the UK government should look to other successful private/public partnerships as a model of how to improve the situation for us all," said Adrian Beck, Veracode's director of enterprise security programme management, in a report entitled Business and Economic Consequences of Inadequate Cybersecurity.
The partnerships referred to include Swiss banking regulations, German data privacy laws and US breach disclosure laws.
"For example, disclosure laws would require firms to report breaches in a timely fashion, thereby protecting consumers from identity theft and encouraging companies to implement best practices when dealing with cyber security," said Beck.
Some 60 percent of chief executives who took part in the study said that the government does not do enough to prevent cyber attacks, and 88 percent of companies that have been attacked have increased annual IT expenditure on security as a result.
Perhaps unsurprisingly the three major concerns about hacking attacks are the cost, which includes forensic and legal charges, damage to reputation and brand, and lost revenues caused by downtime.
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