More than two thirds of Britain’s biggest businesses have admitted staff lack training to deal with the growing threat of cyber attacks, new research has shown.
Top companies and charities have been told to do more to protect themselves from online threats after a Government survey of leading firms found one in 10 FTSE 350 companies had no plan to cope with cyber incidents.
The annual Cyber Governance Health Check found 68 per cent of boards had received no training over what to do in a cyber attack despite more than half acknowledging it was a top threat to their business.
Separate research found charities were also at risk of attack, particularly smaller organisations that rely on outside IT providers to deal with cyber threats.
The Yorkshire Post revealed last month the growing scale of internet offences, as some police forces admitted that they faced a huge challenge in catching “faceless” criminals who could be based anywhere in the world.
Cyber security has been of increasing concern for ministers in the wake of a worldwide ransomware attack that hit the NHS in May, affecting phone lines, scans and patient records, and forcing hospitals to cancel operations.
Politicians in both Westminster and Holyrood have also been targeted by hackers, who undermined around 90 email accounts in London in June, including those of three MPs.
MSPs and Holyrood staff were warned last week that hackers were attempting to access weak email accounts.
Digital Minister Matthew Hancock said: “We have world-leading businesses and a thriving charity sector but recent cyber attacks have shown the devastating effects of not getting our approach to cyber security right.
“These new reports show we have a long way to go until all our organisations are adopting best practice and I urge all senior executives to work with the National Cyber Security Centre and take up the Government’s advice and training.
“Charities must do better to protect the sensitive data they hold and I encourage them to access a tailored programme of support that we are developing alongside the Charity Commission and the National Cyber Security Centre.”
The Cyber Security Among Charities report, also published today, found major variation between charities on awareness of the threat, with staff admitting to gaps in their knowledge.