• David Sharp
  • 22 September 2015

90% of UK firms suffered cyber breaches in last year

Minister for the Digital Economy, Ed Vaizey, has issued a warning to UK businesses today to protect themselves against a growing trend of cyber crime.

Whilst businesses are reaping the benefits of operating online and now earn £1 in every £5 from the Internet, cyber attacks are now considered a serious threat to UK businesses, with the latest figures revealing that 74% of small businesses, and 90% of major businesses, has had a cyber breach of security in the last year.

The UK Government has developed a scheme – Cyber Essentials – that protects businesses against the most common threats on the Internet. A new £500,000 fund has also been launched, to help universities and colleges develop innovative teaching and learning to provide the cyber security skills needed to protect the UK now and in the future.

Digital Economy Minister, Ed Vaizey, said:

“Good cyber security underpins the entire digital economy – we need it to keep our businesses, citizens and public services safe. The UK is a world leader in the use of digital technologies but we also need to be a world leader in cyber security.

“Trust and confidence in UK online security is crucial for consumers, businesses and investors. We want to make the UK the safest place in the world to do business online and Cyber Essentials is a great and simple way firms can protect themselves.”

Since launching the National Cyber Security Programme in 2011, the Government has invested £860m to protect and promote the UK. Based on analysis by GCHQ which showed how cyber criminals were exploiting basics weaknesses in company IT systems, Cyber Essentials sets out five technical controls to protect firms against the majority of internet threats, like viruses, malware and hacking.

Other initiatives include a voucher scheme offering micro, small and medium sized businesses up to £5,000 for specialist advice to boost their cyber security and protect new business ideas and intellectual property.

James Stirk, Regional Director for Government at Intel Security, one of the first organisations to take up the Scheme, said:

“The Cyber Essentials programme represents another positive step forward in the Government’s proposals to raise standards of cyber security and protect British businesses from internet-based attacks. By providing organisations with the criteria and opportunity to meet basic cyber security hygiene standards, this initiative will increase confidence for businesses as well as their customers and partners.”