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Nearly half of UK businesses were hit by a cyberattack last year

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/alexskopje)

An official survey from the government has revealed that one in five charities and nearly half of business in the UK have fallen victim to a cyber security breach or attack in the last year. 

The 2018 edition of the Cyber Security Breaches Survey detailed how organisations of all sizes are at risk of being targeted by hackers and fraudsters and for the first time the survey examined the impact on charities

The survey found that 19 per cent of charities and 43 per cent of businesses had reported experiencing either cyber attacks or security breaches within the last 12 months. This means that seven in 10 large businesses (72%) and 73 per cent of charities, with incomes of £5 million or more, fell victim to either a cyber attack or security breach last year. 

Malware, viruses and fraudulent emails were behind a majority of the attacks that led to businesses and charities losing files, having their software or systems corrupted, intellectual property stolen or having their websites either slowed or taken down completely. 

The report also revealed that charities typically incur no specific financial cost from cyber security breaches though when breaches do result in a “material outcome”, the costs can be quite significant. 

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport's study found that the average financial impact was £3,100 for businesses and £1,030 for charities.   

Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries Margot James highlighted the fact that organisations must do more to protect the personal data they store, saying: 

“We are strengthening the UK's data protection laws to make them fit for the digital age but these new figures show many organisations need to act now to make sure the personal data they hold is safe and secure.” 

With GDPR set to go into effect very soon, businesses and even charities must take action to protect themselves and their data online. 

Image Credit: Alexskopje / Shutterstock

Anthony Spadafora
After living and working in South Korea for seven years, Anthony now resides in Houston, Texas where he writes about a variety of technology topics for ITProPortal.