The UK’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has revealed that nearly half of all UK businesses (46 per cent) faced cyber security breaches or attacks in the last twelve months.
These findings were included in the Department’s annual Cyber Security Breaches Survey, which encompasses businesses and charities across the UK. It showed not only how have attacks evolved in recent years but also how they have become far more common.
The study showed that over a quarter of all charities (26 per cent), reported having cyber security breaches or attacks in the last year. Cyber-attacks were higher amongst medium size businesses, at 68 per cent, with large businesses suffering the most, at 75 per cent.
Since 2017, the report revealed that cyber-attacks have changed in nature, with an increase from 72 per cent to 86 per cent in businesses hit with phishing attacks, whilst attacks in the form of viruses or other malwares came down from 33 per cent to 16 per cent. Phishing attacks are fraudulent attempts to obtain sensitive personal information such as usernames, passwords or credit card details whilst pretending to be a trusted source.
The DCMS reported that over time, organisations have become stronger against breaches and attacks, and as a result, are now less likely to report negative outcomes or impacts from the cyber breaches.
However, in the last month, the COVID-19 crisis has seen phishing attacks increase to an unprecedented 667 per cent in March from February as malicious scammers trick users with fake coronavirus alerts.
In light of these worrying findings, it has never been more crucial for businesses to reassess and update their security strategies. Crucially, eliminating easily compromised passwords from the authentication process and replacing them with innovative biometrics would see businesses across the board protected from increasingly sophisticated and rising phishing attacks.
The message for business is that the larger you are, the more you are likely to face cyber security breaches. Going passwordless is the safest option.