At least two-thirds of UK businesses suffered a cyber attack in the past 12 months, according to government figures, a worrying statistic suggesting that warnings about cyber risks are still not being heeded.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport explained that most of these assaults were viruses, spyware or malware, and Ed Vaizey, minister for the digital economy, added that firms need to do more to protect against such threats.
"The UK is a world-leading digital economy and this government has made cyber security a top priority. Too many firms are losing money, data and consumer confidence with the vast number of cyber attacks," he said.
"It's absolutely crucial businesses are secure and can protect data. As a minimum, companies should take action by adopting the Cyber Essentials scheme which will help them protect themselves."
A ‘health check' performed by the government found that only a third of 350 top-tier businesses understand the threat of a cyber attack, and only 20 per cent are aware of the implications of sharing data with third parties..
Whether businesses embrace it or not remains to be seen. Rohyt Belani, CEO and co-founder of security behaviour management company PhishMe, is dubious that the situation will change any time soon.
"The fact that nearly seven out of 10 attacks on all firms involved viruses, spyware or malware doesn't surprise us as it's what we hear from customers and see in our own research," he said.
"The problem for many is that these infections are often spread via phishing campaigns, and nearly all will be successful as they bait users to open tainted emails that often bypass stringent technology layers to reach the user's inbox. Employees can be too busy, distracted or trusting to give much thought to the possible risks.
"While any government-backed initiative does help raise awareness of the cyber security risks and rewards, it is not going to magically protect organisations from those threats."
To hear more about security challenges, the threats they pose and how to combat them, sign up for V3 sister site Computing's Enterprise Security and Risk Management conference taking place on 24 November.
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