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
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.”