Small businesses targeted with 65,000 attempted cyber attacks per day, find Hiscox

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Small businesses in the UK are the target of an estimated 65,000 attempted cyber attacks every day, according to new figures from insurer Hiscox.

The estimates are based on tests undertaken by the insurer that monitor, in real-time, the total number of attempted attacks on three ‘honeypot’ computer systems that are typical of those used by small firms across the country.

The total number of attempted attacks ranged from 900 to 359,000 in each 24-hour period, averaging 65,000 over the three weeks the servers have been monitored.

In order to raise awareness of this issue, Hiscox is live streaming the number of attempted attacks to its website and also broadcasting the figures live on over 100 billboards across the UK.

According to the insurer, almost one in three (30%), small businesses suffered a cyber breach last year—equivalent to more than 4,500 successful attacks per day or one every 19 seconds.

Cyber security incidents cost the average small business £25,700 last year in direct costs (for example, ransoms paid and hardware replaced).

Indirect cost such as damage to reputation, the impact of losing customers and difficulty attracting future customers, remains unmeasured, but is expected to significantly exceed this, according to Hiscox.

James Brady, head of cyber at Hiscox UK & Ireland, commented: “We know small businesses in the UK are hot targets for cyber criminals and these figures highlight the alarming extent of this. Most small businesses recognise the threat that cyber criminals pose on a global scale, but are less convinced of the risks facing their own operations, considering themselves ‘too small’ to be worthy targets, but this just isn’t the case.”

“Hackers are prolific and sophisticated which makes staying on top of cyber security a challenge for all organisations. With many small businesses lacking credible cyber security strategies to help manage and prevent such attacks however, the impact when they do occur can be disproportionality severe.”

Brady added: “Outsourcing cyber security management is one option as this can be a more cost effective way to access instant, scalable resources in the event of an attack. The best cyber insurance policies will provide exactly that—practical support including legal advice, forensics and reputation management to help get a business back up and running as quickly as possible.”

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Mark Dugdale is the editor of Claims Media. Mark welcomes articles, letters or feedback from readers and can be reached via mark.dugdale@barkerbrooks.co.uk