The number of UK firms reporting a cyber-attack has increased, though most businesses admit they are ill-prepared for a breach, according to research from Hiscox (LSE: HSX), an insurance provider and underwriter at Lloyd’s of London.
A week hardly passes without news of a major cyber incident, and there have been great adverse effects associated with most of them. There is rampant data theft; ransom demands are steadily rising; as is the heightened hostile cyberspace within which businesses must operate. The cyber-threat is unavoidable in today’s business world.
Hiscox surveyed approximately 5,400 small, medium and large businesses across the UK, Belgium, Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands and the United States. The insurer found that there was a “sharp increase” in data theft, fraud, sabotage, and extortion, increasing both the cost and frequency of cyber-attacks, in one year alone. According to the Cyber Readiness Report 2019, more than 60% of firms reporting one or more attacks, up from 45% in 2018.
No One Is Immune
Fifty-five percent of UK firms faced down an attack in 2019, up from 40% last year. Despite this, three quarters of firms were still “novices” in cyber-readiness. The report highlights that many businesses “incorrectly felt that they weren’t at risk”. Yet, in each of the 15 sectors tracked, the number of firms reporting one or more attacks showed a sharp rise.
The most heavily targeted sector was the Technology, Media and Telecom (TMT) space. In all seven countries, there was a rise of 21% over the year, with 72% of respondents reporting at least one attack. In second place came the public sector, which saw a 16% increase (71% reporting an attack), followed by financial services (67% up from 57%).
Losses from breaches averaged between $229,000 (£176,000) and $369,000 (£283,000), an increase of 61%.
UK Businesses Are Less Prepared
The insurer said the percentage

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