Britain fires warning on rising cyber-hackers

By : |April 23, 2008 0

LONDON, UK: Thirteen per cent of large businesses have detected unauthorised outsiders, said the study drawn up by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, published at the Infosecurity Europe show in London.

That represents a 10-fold increase in the last two years, warned the report.

"Very large companies remain the main target for hackers and 20 per cent detect hundreds of significant attempts to break into their network every day," it said.

"Eighty-five per cent of very large businesses were attacked. Telecoms providers are most likely to be attacked, three times as likely as average."

According to the hacking community, only a tiny proportion of penetrations are detected by network owners, the report added.

"Large corporations are being actively targeted by hackers, often working in cahoots with organised crime, and looking to steal confidential customer data which can be used for identity fraud," Chris Potter, the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) partner who led the research, told the Financial Times newspaper.

The report also found that 96 per cent of companies with more than 500 employees were affected by security breaches.

The average cost of the worst breach of the year was 15,000 pounds (30,000 dollars, 19,000 euros) for small businesses and 1.5 million pounds for very large businesses.

Two thirds of companies were doing nothing to prevent confidential data leaving on USB memory sticks, while four-fifths of companies that have had computers stolen have not encrypted their hard drives.

Companies were urged to start taking preventative rather than retrospective action.

Britain’s Business Minister Shriti Vadera said: "New technology is a key source of productivity gains, but without adequate investment in security defences these gains can be undermined by IT security breaches."

"The survey shows increasing understanding by business of the opportunities and threats, but challenges remain."

Data security has been a hot topic in Britain since the personal details of roughly half the population were lost by a government department in the post last November. They remain missing.

The survey urged businesses to learn more about the security threats they faced, target security investment at the most beneficial areas, integrate security into normal business behaviour, deploy integrated technical controls and respond quickly to breaches.

Source: AFP

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