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The weakest link

Employees targeted by cyber attackers

A new study from B2B market research company Circle Research highlights the growing security threat faced by UK businesses.

Two thirds (64%) of IT Directors, CIOs, CTOs, Heads of Security and IT analysts surveyed reported a security incident of some sort in 2015, with 42% enduring multiple attacks and 13% experiencing as many as 10 separate incidents.

Andrew Dalglish, Director of Circle Research
Andrew Dalglish, Director of Circle Research.

Nearly one quarter (23%) “may have lost customer data” as a result.

The four main threats were phishing (experienced by 57%), Trojans (experienced by 32%), patch exploitation (experienced by 26%) and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks (experienced by 21%).

According to Andrew Dalglish, Director of Circle Research, culture-based threats such as phishing and Trojans pose a particular problem as they target employees.

“Last year the government estimated that the average cost of severe online security breaches for big business had more than doubled to £1.46 million. Not only are security breaches becoming more lucrative for attackers, research highlights that the weakest link in many businesses’ security system comes from within,” he said.

Almost half (44%) of companies feel particularly vulnerable to this type of attack, with 50% advocating more staff training to counter the threat. One in five (20%) recommends a policy of increased awareness to ensure employees are updated regularly as threats evolve and develop.

Almost all (99%) feel that sharing cyber security experiences will become one of the most effective ways to combat the growth and spread of attacks.

Despite the range and frequency of cyber attacks, nearly half (49%) of businesses currently operate without cyber liability insurance cover (CLIC).

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