The majority of businesses do not possess adequate cyber security expertise to prevent attacks and protect their customers, a report has found.
Specialist insurer Hiscox surveyed 4,000 firms in the UK, US, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands, and found 73 per cent were severely lacking in digital security.
Around half (45 per cent) of business surveyed reported be targeted at least once by a cyber attack within the last year, with two-thirds weathering two or more attacks.
Financial services, telecoms companies and government bodies were most likely to be the subject of a cyber attack, it found.
Despite this, overall cyber protection against threats was found to be poor. UK and US firms were determined as having the best level of security, with one in eight (13 per cent) achieving cyber expert ranking, based on their security strategy and quality of its execution. The Netherlands was deemed the least cyber savvy nation, with just 7 per cent ranked as experts.
Britain’s public bodies hacked more than 400 times in the last three years
Only 11 per cent of businesses overall were ranked as experts, with one in six (16 per cent) achieving expert status in either strategy or execution, but not both.
“This report shines a light not only on the financial consequences of cyber incidents but also on the enormous investment being made to counter the threat. Importantly, it offers a picture of what best practice looks like,” said Steve Langan, chief executive of Hiscox Insurance Company.
Often the answer is not ‘more technology’ but proactive thinking, more rigorous processes and better trained staff. We hope it will serve as a roadmap for all those organisations that still have some way to go.”
The cyber attack that crippled parts of the NHS last year could have been prevented if “basic IT security” measures had been taken, an independent investigation found.
The head of the National Audit Office (NAO) warned the health service and Department of Health to “get their act together” in the wake of May’s WannaCry crisis, which saw machines at a third of health trusts across England infected by malware, or risk suffering a more sophisticated and damaging future attack.
An investigation by the NAO found that almost 19,500 medical appointments, including 139 potential cancer referrals, were estimated to have been cancelled, with five hospitals having to divert ambulances away after being locked out of computers.