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Cyber attacks and losses from breaches rocket in 2019

Lianna Brinded
Head of Yahoo Finance UK
Cyber attacks jump. Photo: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

A greater number of UK companies reported a cyber attack in 2019, according to research from insurance provider Hiscox.

The group surveyed more than 5,400 small, medium, and large businesses across the UK, Germany, US, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, and Spain.

The report said that 55% of UK companies had faced an attack of this kind, up from 40% in the previous period. Average losses from cyber attacks saw a huge increase, up 61% to $369,000 (£284,116).

Out of all the countries surveyed, UK firms had the smallest budgets available to tackle cyber attacks. While companies from other countries had an average budget of $1.46m to enhance cyber security, UK firms just spend less than $900,000 annually. UK firms also fared particularly badly when it came to companies scoring against readiness to prepare against attacks, says Hiscox.

“They may feel like they won’t be targeted, as we tend to only read about large breaches in the press,” said Gareth Wharton, head of Cyber at Hiscox. “If they incorrectly feel that they won’t be targeted, they may be less likely to spend on cyber security.”

The World Economic Forum has repeatedly warned about how cyber security is one of the biggest threats to the global economy. Its latest data shows that “economic loss due to cybercrime is predicted to reach $3tn by 2020.” It added that “74% of the world’s businesses can expect to be hacked in the coming year.”