Nearly half of businesses suffered one cyber attack last year

New statistics have shown that 43 per cent of businesses and 19 per cent of charities suffered a cyber breach or attack in the past 12 months.

With new data protection laws coming into force on 25 May, the concerning figures rise to 72 per cent for large businesses. According to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, the financial cost of all attacks over the past 12 months cost the average large business £9,260, with some attacks costing significantly more.

Large firms identified an average of 12 attacks a year and medium-sized firms an average of six attacks a year, according to the statistics. Accordingly, 74 per cent os businesses and 53 per cent of charities say cyber security is a high priority for their organisation’s senior management.

In line with the government’s Data Protection Bill, the Information Commissioner’s Office will be given more power to defend consumer interests and issue higher fines to organisations, of up to £17 million or four per cent of global turnover for the most serious data breaches.

Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, said: “We are strengthening the UK’s data protection laws to make them fit for the digital age but these new figures show many organisations need to act now to make sure the personal data they hold is safe and secure. We are investing £1.9 billion to protect the nation from cyber threats and I would urge organisations to make the most of the free help and guidance available for organisations from the Information Commissioner’s Office and the National Cyber Security Centre.”

Ciaran Martin, CEO of the National Cyber Security Centre, added: “Cyber attacks can inflict serious commercial damage and reputational harm, but most campaigns are not highly sophisticated. Companies can significantly reduce their chances of falling victim by following simple cyber security steps to remove basic weaknesses. Our advice has been set out in an easy-to-understand manner in the NCSC’s small charities and business guides.”

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