Cyber threat

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The threat of cyber crime is more pronounced in some sectors of business in the UK.

The threat of cyber crime is one that all businesses must try to manage – but the risks are more pronounced for some than they are for others.

Recent research reveals the sectors in the UK most at risk of cyber attacks. Unsurprisingly, it’s those sectors which hold the most valuable and sensitive personal information that are most likely to be targeted by cyber criminals.

The healthcare and IT/Telecom sectors reported the most cyber attacks, as per research by cyber-security experts OGL Computer, with companies in those industries storing vast amounts of patient or customer data.

The report notes how hackers will typically target suppliers who often offer an easier gateway into the network. When hackers impersonate suppliers, it’s much more difficult for target organisations to identify attacks and take appropriate action.

Other sectors highlighted as particularly vulnerable to cyber attacks include Legal, HR and Recruitment and Manufacturing. However, with more than eight in 10 (81%) UK SMEs reporting they had suffered at the hands of cyber criminals, no organisation can afford to overlook the risk.

Firms make cyber security a priority

Separate research by, and cited on, suggests that risks of cyber crime are well understood by businesses. Globally, nearly 40% of companies said they feel threatened by cyber incidents and find it the most concerning business risk of the year so far.

A cyber attack, IT failure or data breach can prove costly in a number of different ways, with both tangible and intangible implications for businesses. One of the obvious potential risks of those three outcomes is some kind of business interruption, which was found to be the second most-important risk in 2020, with 37% of companies worrying about this kind of uncertainty. Given that the two very much go hand in hand, it might explain why cyber incidents come out top.

Legislative and regulatory changes, economic sanctions and the fallout from Brexit came in third on the risk barometer, pushing natural catastrophes and market development into fourth position.


Image credit: Shutterstock

Telecoms sector on high alert

The data gathered by also reveals which sectors are most concerned about a lapse in their cyber defences. Reassuringly, in light of OGL Computer’s findings, the Telecoms industry is the most aware of the risks of cyber crime, data breach or IT failure. Three quarters of the firms in the sector said they feel threatened – almost double the global average.

The technology market ranked second, with 57% of enterprises worrying about cyber risk, followed by financial and professional service, the aviation industry and government bodies.

Cyber security during the pandemic

Both US and UK security services have recently issued cyber threat updates, highlighting the increased threat from cyber criminals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) have warned that malware and ransomware are being used in email scams, and criminals and advanced persistent threat groups are searching for vulnerabilities in software and aiming to exploit poor cyber security of those working from home.

While overall levels of cyber crime haven’t increased specifically, more and more criminals are using the pandemic as a front for their scams.

“Our advice to the public and organisations is to remain vigilant and follow our guidance, and to only use trusted sources of information on the virus such as UK Government, Public Health England or NHS websites,” says Paul Chichester, Director of Operations at the NCSC.

All businesses are advised to review the NCSC’s guidance on handling suspect emails and working securely from home.


Banner image credit: Supimol Kumying, Shutterstock

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