Two in five UK firms have experienced cyber-attacks in last year, says new report

According to a new report from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), two in five businesses (39%) and a quarter of charities (26%) have had cyber security breaches or attacks within the last 12 months.

The report (Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2021) also exposes the cyber risk to organisations that is now heightened because of the pandemic. This has ultimately made securing digital environments more challenging as organisational resources are diverted to facilitating home working for staff.

“The pandemic has taken an unavoidable toll on British businesses, but we cannot let it disrupt our high cyber security standards,” said Matt Warman, Digital Infrastructure Minister. “With more people working remotely it is vital firms have the right protections in place, and I urge all organisations to follow the National Cyber Security Centre’s expert guidance so we can build back better and drive a new era of digital growth.” 

Businesses, charities and educational institutions are being encouraged by the government to follow the free help and guidance from the UK cyber security experts at the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). It includes advice on the secure use of video conferencing, secure home working and how to move your business from physical to digital.

The most common breaches or attacks were phishing emails, followed by instances of others impersonating their organisation online, viruses or other malware including ransomware. Where a breach has resulted in a loss of data or assets, the average cost of a cyber-attack on a business is £8,460. This figure rises to £13,400 for medium and large businesses.

The figures also reveal nearly half of businesses (47%) have staff using personal devices for work, but only 18% have a cyber security policy on how to use those personal devices at work. Less than a quarter of businesses (23%) have a cyber security policy covering home working.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, cyber security remains a high priority for business leaders. More than three quarters (77%) of businesses say cyber security is a high priority – up 12% from the 2016 report.


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