Smaller business ‘most at risk from cyber attacks’

ANDY TUSCHER: Vital to raise awareness so that manufacturers can plan for cyber risks..

ANDY TUSCHER: Vital to raise awareness so that manufacturers can plan for cyber risks..

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MANUFACTURERS could be unknowingly leaving themselves vulnerable to a cyber attack with smaller businesses particularly at risk, according to a study.

Research by manufacturers’ organisation EEF found that 46 per cent of manufacturers have failed to increase investment in cyber security over the past two years.

Among small manufacturers this rises to 56 per cent. Two in 10 firms, 20 per cent, are not actively making employees aware of cyber risks, while 56 per cent say cyber security is given serious attention by their board.

The findings are a cause for concern, the EEF says, as manufacturing is on the cusp of a technology-driven fourth industrial revolution.

Dubbed Industry 4.0 or 4IR, this next industrial transformation will see greater reliance on data.

Eight in 10 manufacturers, 80 per cent, say that 4IR will be a business reality within the next 10 years.

Andy Tuscher, Yorkshire and Humber region director at EEF, said: “As technology and data play ever more critical roles in manufacturing, companies will inevitably find themselves more vulnerable to cyber threats.

“As the industry body we think it’s vital to start raising awareness now so that manufacturers can plan for the cyber risks associated with the fourth industrial revolution.”

EEF has launched a test to check how cyber aware manufacturers are following the survey.

Mr Tuscher added: “The fact is that technology will transform our industry, opening up immense opportunities and possibilities.

“But risks run alongside the rewards and it’s important that manufacturers are able to identify, understand and put the correct strategies in place to keep their businesses safe and cyber secure.

“There are also many other barriers that could see Britain losing out on investment in 4IR technologies.

“This is why we are looking to bring industry together to collectively identify the major barriers to the next industrial age.”

Government figures show that, last year, 90 per cent of large businesses and 74 per cent of small businesses reported a cyber security breach – an increase on 2014.

The average cost of these breaches was between £1.46m to £3.14m for a large firm and £75,000 to £311,000 for a small business.

Findings from the Cyber Security Breaches Survey, undertaken by Ipsos Mori for the Government, show a quarter of large firms experiencing a cyber breach did so at least once a month.

Results from the survey have been released alongside the Government’s Cyber Governance Health Check – which was launched following the TalkTalk cyber attack in October last year.

In light of the findings, businesses are now being urged to better protect themselves.

Ed Vaizey, Minister for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, said: “The UK is a world-leading digital economy and this Government has made cyber security a top priority.

“Too many firms are losing money, data and consumer confidence with the vast number of cyber attacks. It’s absolutely crucial businesses are secure and can protect data.

“As a minimum, companies should take action by adopting the Cyber Essentials scheme which will help them protect themselves.”

Over the next five years the Government has pledged to invest £1.9bn to tackle and prevent the crime, as well as a new National Cyber Security Centre which will offer security support.

A new national cyber security strategy will also be published later this year, setting out proposals to improve virtual safety across the Government, businesses and consumers.

Cyber attacks and breaches a big concern for FTSE firms as well

Findings from the Cyber Security Breaches Survey show that in some cases the cost of cyber breaches and attacks on businesses reached millions, and that almost half of the top FTSE 350 businesses regarded this as the biggest threat.

It was also revealed that seven out of 10 attacks on all firms involving viruses, spyware or malware, could have been prevented, and how only a fifth of businesses have a clear view of the dangers of sharing information with third parties.

Firms are being encouraged to take action using measures such as malware protection.

Last month, Detective Chief Inspector Steve Thomas, of the Regional Cyber Crime Unit, told an event in Leeds that cyber crime could damage a company’s reputation and lead to heavy regulatory fines.

• Findings from the Cyber Security Breaches Survey show that in some cases the cost of cyber breaches and attacks on businesses reached millions, and that almost half of the top FTSE 350 businesses regarded this as the biggest threat.

It was also revealed that seven out of 10 attacks on all firms involving viruses, spyware or malware, could have been prevented, and how only a fifth of businesses have a clear view of the dangers of sharing information with third parties.

Firms are being encouraged to take action using measures such as malware protection.

Last month, Detective Chief Inspector Steve Thomas, of the Regional Cyber Crime Unit, told an event in Leeds that cyber crime could damage a company’s reputation and lead to heavy regulatory fines.

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