The government “needs to raise its game” on cyber security, according to a new report published by the Public Accounts Committee this month. It’s the latest in a string of noteworthy announcements made in the few short weeks since the start of the New Year about the increasing need to bolster our defences against these pervasive threats.
Last month, cyber offences and online fraud were revealed as the most common crimes here in the UK. More than 5.5 million cyber offences take place each year, according to the annual Crime Survey of England and Wales, resulting in £11bn lost in the UK to cyber criminals in 2016 – and that’s just the incidents that get reported.
The impacts of cyber crime on businesses are multi-faceted and severe. Over one third of organisations that experienced a breach in 2016 reported substantial customer, opportunity and revenue loss of more than 20%. Aside from the monetary impact of dealing with cyber crime, it’s particularly interesting that the reputational risks to business are not taken lightly. Half (49%) of companies who’ve fallen foul of ransomware said they were too afraid of public scrutiny to report the attack.
So, it seems there is a dark downside to the digital age and we all have a part to play. Three out of five of the companies who were victims of ransomware attacks last year cited employee negligence as putting their business at risk, with most attacks stemming from phishing and social engineering ploys or lures from insecure, spoof websites.
At a time when the US presidency is front of mind for many, it’s very apt that the famous saying attributed to Thomas Jefferson “the price of liberty is eternal vigilance” is now becoming the watchword for CEOs looking to protect their digital systems and data across the globe. With their acceptance that investing in cyber defence is something today’s businesses simply have to do, there is a growing opportunity for those who make cyber security their business – and that seems set to grow in 2017.