Cyber crime has been on the rise in the UK for some time, but the 2020 coronavirus pandemic has worsened the trend significantly.
The 2020 pandemic saw a spike in cyber crime and showed how unprepared some UK businesses are to handle cyber attacks. The Cyber Security Breaches Survey shed some light on why UK businesses may have undergone so much cyber crime in the past year:
– Only 83 percent of businesses have up-to-date anti-virus software.
– 47 percent of businesses have staff using personal devices for work, but only 18 percent have a policy on how to use those personal devices at work.
– Less than a quarter of businesses (23 percent) have a cyber security policy covering home working.
– In addition to the pandemic putting stress on cyber security, the increased use of cloud technologies has also opened up vulnerability to cyber attacks in the UK.
The Five Most Vulnerable Industries
Cyber attacks have a devastating impact on UK businesses. Poor cyber security can cost a company thousands or millions of pounds if they experience a data breach. The UK government’s Cyber Security Breaches Survey noted that where a data breach resulted in a loss of data or assets, the average cost of a cyber attack on a business is £8,460. For medium and large businesses, that figure rises to £13,400.
Although cyber crime is a risk for all businesses of any size, five particular industries tend to be targeted more often:
– IT & Telecommunications
– HR & Recruitment
– Manufacturing & Utilities
Healthcare industry is the most vulnerable to the risk of cyber crime in the UK because systems are outdated and there’s a fear that switching to new technology could disrupt working practices and patient care.
IT & Telecommunications
Telecoms and IT are also targets of state-sponsored cyber attacks because entire economies and businesses operate on these telecommunications structures. They’re also the gateway to other businesses; once a hacker infiltrates the telecom company’s infrastructure, they can easily intercept calls or impersonate subscribers.
Switching to remote working during the pandemic was a hard shift for many law firms, as methods for dispute resolution and transactional work didn’t support virtual methods. There’s also a lack of clear regulations surrounding data protection and security, leaving many law firms without contingency plans or a security framework to follow.
HR & Recruitment
Recruitment agencies are particularly at risk as well, because they build up lists of candidates and resources that become valuable intellectual property worth stealing. These agencies are also targets for malware because one virus can expose documents such as passport scans and visa details.
Manufacturing & Utilities
Like the healthcare industry, the manufacturing industry is reluctant to disrupt current processes and therefore operates with outdated systems. This hesitancy to update is critical, as the industry is one of the most technologically immature, having not kept up with modern security measures.