Cost of cyber attacks ‘has tripled in a year’

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The cost of a cyber attack on your firm could be staggering.

We all hear stories in the news about being prepared for cyber attacks, but they can sometimes feel a little abstract – they might not affect your business at all, so why worry, right?

If this is the type of approach you tend to adopt, then some new figures released by the government on the frequency of breaches could hit home in a much more direct way.

According to the Information Security Breaches Survey from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), 87 per cent of small companies and a whopping 93 per cent of larger ones have suffered a security breach in the past year.

This shows the number of attacks is soaring – indeed, the cost has also tripled in 12 months.

The worst incidents cost an average of £50,000 for small firms and £650,000 for bigger ones, an expense that most will balk at in this economic climate.

However, the most serious were found to cost up to £1 million of damage – is this something your bottom line could survive?

Most of the attacks came from malicious outside sources such as hackers and criminals (or even competitors, which shows what a dog-eat-dog world some of us are operating in).

However, 36 per cent occurred as a result of human error and another ten per cent cam about because of deliberate misuse of systems by staff.

The BIS is publishing new information to help business owners to deal with the growing threat and its impact on data protection, as well as encouraging them to make taking special care of personal information part of their standard routine.

"Companies are more at risk than ever of having their cyber security compromised, in particular small businesses and no sector is immune from attack," warned universities and science minister David Willetts.

"We’ve been surprised by the sheer scale of it and the growth of incidents," admitted business secretary Vince Cable in an interview with the Financial Times.

It comes just weeks after security firm Check Point found botnets are currently the biggest threat to data protection, Compute Weekly reported.

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