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Study reveals ‘surge in cyber attacks on small businesses’


Some 87% of small businesses experienced a security breach last year – up by 10% – according to research commissioned by the Government.


The Information Security Breaches Survey, which was carried out on behalf of the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), also found that 93% of large businesses had been subjected to a cyber attack.


Furthermore, affected companies reportedly experienced around 50% more attacks on average than the previous year.


The average cost of the worst hacking breach for small firms was between £35,000 and £65,000, while the average cost for large organisations was between £450,000 and £850,000.


In some cases, the damage caused by an attack amounted to more than £1 million, researchers said.


Following the findings, the Technology Strategy Board has extended a scheme to allow small and medium-sized enterprises to bid for up to £5,000 to improve their cyber security.


The BIS has also published a guide to help small businesses improve their risk management procedures and prevent future occurrences of cyber crime.


Commenting, the Universities and Science Minister, David Willetts, said: ‘Keeping electronic information safe and secure is vital to a business’s bottom line.


‘Companies are more at risk than ever of having their cyber security compromised, in particular small businesses, and no sector is immune from attack. But there are simple steps that can be taken to prevent the majority of incidents’.