Firms urged to tighten security over cyber attacks

Eight in every ten Scottish businesses experienced a significant cyber security breach last year, according to new research.
Picture: PAPicture: PA
Picture: PA

It found that threats of attack are growing and that breaches are costing firms up to 6 per cent of their turnover.

The research from accountancy giant PwC and Infosecurity Europe, on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), found the cyber security issue remains a major concern for firms despite evidence that most attacks are easily preventable. The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), estimates that around 80 per cent of currently successful attacks can be prevented by simple best practices such as ensuring sensitive data is encrypted.

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As cybercrime becomes increasingly more commonplace, the survey revealed that 79 per cent of Scottish businesses had experienced attacks by unauthorised outsiders (such as hacking) with 74 per cent impacted by viruses or malicious software. Almost 60 per cent experienced theft or fraud using computers.

Nan Maguire, of PwC in Edinburgh, said: “It’s clear that the business world is changing: companies of all sizes, in all countries and across industries, are routinely sharing information across business borders, whether it’s with business partners or employees’ personal devices.

“With Scottish businesses facing increasingly advanced threats, it’s vital that they act now to ensure they protect what is critical to their organisation’s growth and reputation. This is not just an IT problem but a board issue.”