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UK enterprises are fielding around 40% more cyber attacks than their continental European counterparts, with many reporting a marked rise over the past 12 months.
That’s according to research published by security firm Trend Micro. It commissioned market watcher Quocirca to poll 500 European senior IT decision makers, including 100 from the UK, about their experiences of cyber-attacks.
The UK firms said they had experienced 8.6 targeted attacks during the last year, while the continental European participants reported an average of 6.2 attacks.
Not all of these were deemed successful or resulted in data being lost, the pollsters said, but 53% said they still feared an attack could cause serious disruption to their business.
In financial terms, continental firms came off worse, with respondents claiming cyber attacks had cost them around £243,000, while – for UK firms – this figure stood at £172,000.
Quocirca suggests that, while UK firms are considered to be a lucrative target for hackers and suffer a higher number of attacks, they are also better equipped to cope with them than those operating elsewhere on the continent.
Despite this, Rik Ferguson, vice-president of security research at Trend Micro, said there is still more UK firms can do to protect themselves from security threats.
“While UK businesses increasingly recognise the reality, scale and impact of targeted attack, the initial data reveals that much more can and should be done in testing their readiness to deal with them,” he said.
“A large number of businesses report having training and penetration testing measures in place, but relatively few are conducting cyber-readiness tests, or fire drills.
“Raising user awareness and probing your systems are both crucial components but they cannot be fully tested unless brought together in a live-fire exercise involving your employees.”
Bob Tarzey, analyst and director at Quocirca, agreed, saying: “Much more could be done by most UK organisations to prevent attacks and deal with the aftermath when some are inevitably successful.
"Some of those reported led to devastating data losses, the cost of dealing with which was way above the average.”
Read more about UK cyber security trends
- UK businesses are reluctant to let go of the security question as a form of verification, bucking a worldwide trend towards multi-factor authentication (MFA), a report has revealed.
- A poll of local government employees reveals that almost half do not know if their current IT security practices would offer suitable protection against the growing threat of cyber crime.