Cyber attacks against UK businesses are on the rise and becoming more sophisticated.
In 2020, there were 686,961 cyber attack attempts on UK businesses, equating to an attack every 46 seconds.
This is the highest number on record, with a 20% increase from the previous year.
Could this be because of the effects COVID-19 had on the world of work?
With remote working becoming the norm in recent years, more people are relying on their laptops and online storage systems to keep business data secure.
Risks of data breaches have increased because employees are working from various locations, creating more paths for cyber criminals to attack.
There are many consequences to cyber attacks, including:
- Loss of customer information like contact and payment databases
- Losing money through fraud or theft
- Someone getting access to employment information like national insurance numbers and personal details
- It can affect your reputation, leading to a lack of trust from customers and/or clients
- You can be fined if you haven’t put security measures in place to protect people’s private information
- Future business plans can be accessed through online storage, leading to plagiarized ideas and wasted investments
- Attackers can gain access to social media accounts, altering any content and furthering a poor reputation
Protecting yourself from cyber attacks is more important than ever.
Some things you can do to protect you and your business includes:
- Installing security software on all technology is a simple and easy step you can take. Artificial intelligence can monitor attacks in real time and can prevent them from happening.
- By educating your employees, they’ll be aware of any possible risks. An example of this is not using public WiFi, to limit your vulnerability to online hackers.
What are the common cyber threats facing businesses?
As mentioned above, there are many consequences to cyber hacking, including loss of money and vital pieces of information.
But what are the threats you should look out for?
Phishing attacks are a common cyber threat for businesses of all sizes.
Usually done by email, they contain a link asking for recipients’ details like passwords to gain access to protected sites or storage systems.
It’s easy for hackers as they can reach a lot of people in one go.
It works by encouraging readers to open a link which leads to a download for malware (ransomware) so attackers can then sabotage systems and steal money.
The main thing attackers seem to go for is money or private information.
If someone is able to get access to personal information you hold like customer contact numbers, you can be fined for not putting security measures in place to protect them.
Fines for being a victim of a cyber attack are capped at a maximum of £17.5 million in the UK.
So not only have you lost important data and savings, but you’ll also have to pay a large fine, so it’s worth doing what you can to protect yourselves and the data you store.
With smartphones being a key aspect of people’s lives now, a lot of attacks can happen through texts, emails and in app downloads.
Mobile cyber attacks can be very dangerous, as your location, financial information and account passwords can be leaked and accessed.
To prevent this from happening, you should educate all members of staff on how to stay safe while working on the go.
If they can limit the amount of time they spend on public WiFi and not have passwords saved in notes app or in text messages etc, they’re chances of attackers accessing their data will be much lower.
How to protect yourself financially in the event of an attack
Although you can limit the risks with software and education, you could still find yourself being a victim of a cyber attack.
In the event of this you’ll need some sort of insurance to cover your back.
By having cyber liability insurance in place, you don’t have to worry about any financial losses or any unwanted access to employee and customer information.
It doesn’t just protect you and important business data, it also protects your clients and customers’ data from being shared.
This insurance type covers you for:
- Damage through viruses to recover any lost or stolen data
- The cost of website restoration if you’re hacked
- If someone commits identity theft through the details you have stored
With cyber threats becoming more common and more sophisticated, can you business really stand by and risk not being financially prepared?