A cabinet office report has revealed that cyber crime costs the UK economy an estimated £27bn a year, with £21bn of costs being resulting from online attacks on British businesses. The report also highlights that most companies remain unwilling to admit to being the victim of cyber crime, and that the real figure could be a lot higher.
Simon Neal, security expert at The Bunker, provider of ultra-secure data centres, has made the following comments in response to this announcement:
“Businesses have been the victim of attacks ever since they started going online, but the threat to the macro economy has increased hugely over the past few years. One of the most alarming developments is the dual rise of the hacktivist and the online terrorist. Historically, an enemy looking to destabilise the economy would target government, infrastructure and manufacturing sites with bombs. Now, the enemy might look to create similar chaos and operational paralysis by taking down a vital trading system, compromising personal records, or disrupting a high profile B2C organisation as a show of strength.
“If significant targets such as banks and other financial institutions are attacked or dissuaded from operating within, for instance, the City of London, the impact on the UK will be significant – lost revenue for the banking industry, lost tax income for the Government, and lost confidence leading to lower future investment and the resulting impact on jobs and the population’s general outlook.
“With companies increasingly targeted for disruption rather than information theft, business is already on the frontline of today’s cyber war. Companies need to change their security culture to deal with this new threat, because it’s no longer just about safeguarding their own data assets – it’s also about protecting the national and economic interest.”