ONS: Businesses facing more cyber crime in last year

ONS: Businesses facing more cyber crime in last year [Image: HYWARDS via iStock]

Incidents involving malware and computer misuse are increasing, according to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures.

Consumers are suffering fewer attacks, according to the new report, with a 24 per cent decrease from last year’s numbers.

However, businesses are experiencing more cyber crime than ever, with figures up a huge 63 per cent in the year to September 2017.

The ONS found that there were 4.7 million incidents of fraud and computer misuse in those 12 months, which represented a 15 per cent fall from the previous year.

Fraud fell from 3.6 million incidents in 2016 to 3.2 million incidents in 2017, and computer misuse dropped from two million incidents in 2016 to 1.5 million in 2017. The reduction in fraud numbers was largely the result of decreases in consumer and retail fraud, including offences related to online shopping or fraudulent computer service calls.

Meanwhile, the fall in computer misuse was mainly caused by a 26 per cent fall in reported incidents of computer malware and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.

Andy Waterhouse, EMEA director at RSA Security, said: “While it’s great to see that hackers are starting to draw their attention away from consumers, organisations and UK infrastructure are facing tougher conditions than ever as hackers chase greater profits.

“The aftershock from major ransomware attacks last year such as WannaCry and NotPetya is evident. These highly-weaponised threats now have the ability to replicate and spread at an unfathomable pace, putting critical UK infrastructure and businesses at risk with every attack.”

He encouraged consumers and businesses to do more to assess their data, identify their most valuable assets and protect them through a combination of multi-factor authentication, strong and unique passwords and a greater level of education on cyber skills.