The threat of cyber crime is “potentially higher than ever” under Covid-19, a major study has revealed.
The research, published by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, suggests that fewer businesses are taking measures to prevent cybercrime, despite remote working creating a perfect environment for criminals to operate in.
According to the Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2021, some four in ten businesses (39 per cent) and a quarter of charities (26 per cent) reported a cyber breach or attack in the last 12 months.
The most common offence “by far” was phishing attacks, accounting for over four in five (83 per cent) reports. Phishing is defined as a type of social engineering attack in which cyber criminals “trick victims into handing over sensitive information or installing malware”.
This was followed by digital, telephone or email impersonation, accounting for 27 per cent of attacks.
Across all businesses, the average attack or cyber security breach was estimated to have cost an average of £8,460, increasing to £13,400 when only including medium and large-sized enterprises.
Despite the threat of cybercrime looming large over businesses, seemingly fewer firms are putting measures in place to combat attacks against their company.
For example, fewer businesses are now deploying security monitoring tools (35 per cent compared to 40 per cent last year) or undertaking any form of user monitoring (32 per cent compared to 38 per cent).
Commenting on the findings, the authors said: “The risk level is potentially higher than ever under COVID-19, and that businesses are finding it harder to administer cyber security measures during the pandemic.
“Therefore, this reduction among businesses possibly suggests that they are simply less aware than before of the breaches and attacks their staff are facing.”
For guidance on how to protect your company from cybercrime, visit the National Cyber Security Centre’s guidance page here.
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