Malicious cybercrime attacks ‘jump by 81%’

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Cybercriminal activity increased in 2011, with organisations of all sizes targeted by thieves

Malicious online attacks jumped by 81 per cent in 2011, according to figures released by Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report, with increasing numbers of small businesses being targeted by cybercriminals.

The statistics revealed that 18 per cent of companies that were singled out for direct attacks employed less than 250 staff – a reflection of how organisations of all sizes are at risk of potentially damaging data breaches.

"In 2011 cybercriminals greatly expanded their reach, with nearly 20 per cent of targeted attacks now directed at companies with fewer than 250 employees," said Stephen Trilling, chief technology officer at Symantec.

Running a secure online system is vital to businesses in the modern cyber world, and this latest report emphasises the need for effective data protection strategies that help to defend a company’s servers against malicious attacks that are designed to expose their sensitive files.

With hackers said to have secured over 187 million identities in 2011 – double the population of the UK – it appears that secure online document storage needs to be enhanced if both small and large businesses are to adequately protect themselves against cybercriminals.

And given the rise in the number of employees using devices such as tablets and smartphones, there is a widening range of areas in which online thieves can strike, so defending these could become increasingly important.

Indeed, with many workers now using their personal gadgets in the workplace, one expert has stressed the need for staff to be aware of the threat that they are exposed to – as well as how to counter it.

"The data is the single most important part of most modern businesses, allowing or encouraging staff to use their own devices in your business is a very large risk that must be managed very carefully indeed," said Alex Rabbetts, managing director of Migration Solutions.

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