UK firms face 65,000 cyber attacks a day

Small businesses in the UK are the target of an estimated 65,000 attempted cyber attacks each day, according to figures released today by Hiscox to help raise awareness of the prevalence of cyber crime.

UK's small firms are hot targets for cyber crime, says Hiscox's James Brady. Picture: Contributed

Cyber security incidents cost the average small business £25,700 last year in direct costs, including ransoms paid and hardware replaced, in addition to indirect damage such as the impact on reputation or loss of customers.

The insurer estimated the hacking figures based on tests which monitor, in real-time, the total number of attempted attacks on three “honeypot” computer systems typical of those used by small firms

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The number of attempted attacks ranged from 900 to 359,000 in each 24-hour period, averaging 65,000 over the three weeks in which the servers were monitored.

Although most cyber attack attempts are unsuccessful, almost one in three (30 per cent) UK small businesses suffers a genuine cyber breach per year, which is the equivalent to one successful breach every 19 seconds, said Hiscox.

James Brady, head of cyber at Hiscox UK & Ireland, said: “We know small businesses in the UK are hot targets for cyber criminals and these figures highlight the alarming extent of this.

“Hackers are prolific and sophisticated which makes staying on top of cyber security a challenge for all organisations. With many small businesses lacking credible cyber security strategies to help manage and prevent such attacks, however, the impact when they do occur can be disproportionally severe.”