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Businesses get tough on cyber crime

1 October 2019

A new report on the cyber threat environment has found that businesses are fighting back and becoming more aware of ways to protect themselves against cyber crime.

Carbon Black has published its third UK Threat Report, based on a survey of 250 senior executives in UK businesses. The results show that 84% of UK firms said they have suffered a data breach during the past 12 months and 90% say cyber attacks have grown more sophisticated.

At the same time, however, businesses are becoming more proactive about protecting themselves. Overall, 76% of UK businesses polled said they feel more confident in their ability to repel cyber attacks than they did 12 months ago - 47% said they feel a little more confident, while 29% feel a lot more confident.

However, 88% of those polled said they have IT security concerns around digital transformation projects and the 5G network rollout. As a result, 93% plan to increase their security budgets over the next year.

"It appears businesses are adjusting to the 'new normal' of sustained and sophisticated cyber attacks," said Rick McElroy, head of security strategy at Carbon Black when discussing the UK threat report. "Greater awareness of external threats and compliance risks have also prompted businesses to become more proactive about managing cyber risks as they witness the financial and reputational impacts that breaches entail."

The research also found there has been a sharp increase in breaches caused by phishing attacks in the UK compared to its prior report, suggesting that criminals are targeting the weakest link in the security chain - users.

Asked about the impact of cyber crime, 35% of UK businesses said they had suffered some financial damage because of cyber breaches, with 9% saying the damage was severe. Seven in ten (72%) said they suffered damage to their corporate reputation, with 13% saying it was severe and only 24% saying there was no impact at all.

McElroy said: "As the cyber defence sector continues to mature, businesses are becoming more aware of the tools at their disposal and the tactics they can use to combat cyber attacks. We believe this growing confidence is indicative of a power shift in favour of defenders, who are taking a more proactive approach to hunting out and neutralising threats than previously."

This is underlined by the 90% of UK businesses surveyed who reported seeing their defence strengthened through threat hunting and 78% who found evidence of malicious cyber attack activity during hunting exercises.

Written by Rachel Miller.

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