Monday, April 29, 2013

They're out to get you!

Small businesses are being urged to do more to tighten their computer security after research revealed the number of cyber-attacks hitting businesses increased over the last year. According to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), cyber attacks on small businesses caused more than £1 million worth of damage last year. The BIS report stated that computer security can cost a small business up to six per cent of its turnover, which is a phenomenal amount for some businesses.

Research showed that:

Small businesses are increasingly at risk, with 87 per cent experiencing a security breach last year - up 10 per cent

Around 93 per cent of large organisations have also been targeted.

Companies affected have experienced 50 per cent more attacks than a year ago

The average cost of major security breaches for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) was between £35,000 and £65,000

The truly shocking fact that Staff-related breaches affected 84 per cent of large businesses, and 57 per cent of small businesses - up 48 per cent from a year ago. *

In response, the Government is now offering funding to small and medium sized enterprises who are able to bid for up to £5,000 to improve their computer security.

* About ten years ago we had an employee who wasn't very good at their job and at the end of his probationary period we had to let go. When we came into work on the Monday following his departure we discovered that he had deleted every piece of software from the computer he was using and the whole thing had to be rebuilt from scratch. I know that some of the biggest companies in France have adopted a policy of not letting staff know they have been made redundant until the moment it happens for fear of cyber attacks, the member in question is simply escorted from the building by security personnel.

We had a suspected attack a month ago which disabled the whole system for a day, the cause of the problem was traced back to some malware which had been downloaded from, wait for it, a well known shopping channel. The person who downloaded it isn't even a member of our staff which made it worse, simply somebody who works part-time for my boss using one of our terminals. Years ago we had problems because of our 'work at home connections' where somebody in the same house of one of our staff was using the Internet to access porn sites and eventually our e-mail system became clogged up with invitations to 'add a little bit extra to please the ladies' type of spam.

Not actually related to the article above but assisting two clients recently with their accounting software I had to smile to myself at the choice of passwords, one business had 'Top Gun' and the other had chosen '007', who says boys never grow up!


A Northern Bloke said...

I'd love to know, out of those who fell victims to such attacks, how many actually had basic security measures in place.

My guess would be not many.

Span Ows said...

Wasn't it only last year or so ago that the most popular password was 'password'! Plus pins 1234 or 0000

Paul said...

I think you're probably right Shy, security is a bit like taking back-ups - everybody thinks it's a good idea after something has gone wrong.

I think you're right Span, the best example I saw of lax security was when a post-it was left on somebody's screen with the password written on it.

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