Two-thirds of UK businesses hit by cyber attacks

Two-thirds of UK businesses hit by cyber attacks (iStock/weerapatkiatdumrong)

The issue of cyber security has once again hit the headlines, with recent government research suggesting that two thirds of big UK businesses have been struck by an attack over the past year.

The Cyber Security Breaches Survey found that a majority of the attacks involved the use of viruses, spyware or malware.

The issue has become so pressing that a quarter of large firms claimed to have experienced a cyber breach at least once a month, with some attacks costing companies millions of pounds.

Perhaps one of the most frustrating findings of the survey was the fact that an estimated seven out of ten attacks could have been prevented, with research suggest that only a fifth of businesses understood the risks of sharing information with third parties.

The survey results were published alongside the government's Cyber Governance Health Check, which was launched on the back of the TalkTalk breach in October last year.

The phone and broadband provider, which has over four million customers across the UK,  admitted that banking details and personal information had been potentially accessed in the breach, leading to the government to make cyber security a higher priority, as it seeks to increase investment in the digital economy.

Digital economy minister Ed Vaizey said: "The UK is a world-leading digital economy and this government has made cyber security a top priority.

"Too many firms are losing money, data and consumer confidence with the vast number of cyber attacks. It's absolutely crucial businesses are secure and can protect data."

The government is reportedly set to invest £1.9 billion over the next five years in a bid to tackle and prevent cyber crime, while also setting up a national cyber security strategy that is due to be published later this year.