UK ranked fifth in cyber attack survey

For every 1000 computers in the UK there are 107 cyber attacks, putting the country in fifth place in global rankings according to a report from data protection firm SecureWorks.

Topping the chart, with the fewest attacks pro rata, was India, with only 52 attacks recorded for every 1000 PCs, suggesting that criminals are finding it easier to harness infected machines within organisations as well as those owned by individuals in the UK than in many of its contemporaries.

SecureWorks’ Jon Ramsey said that criminals were controlling vast domestic botnets in most nations around the world and it was because of unchecked vulnerabilities that many businesses were leaving themselves open to exploitation.

Mr Ramsey also pointed out that by allowing computers to become and remain infected and malleable, malicious parties were being given opportunities to attack others.

There are a range of factors that influence the number of cyber attacks and data thefts that occur within a country, including the average connection speeds and the way in which internet service providers (ISPs) protect their users and detect threats. The distribution of operating systems also plays a part, as most hackers target Windows in order to ensure the most widespread levels of infection.

SecureWorks concluded that although the threats are significant, in many cases avoiding infection can be as simple as following the basic rules of computer security whether at home or at work. This includes regularly updating data security software to combat new threats and only accepting downloads and attachments from sources you trust whilst avoiding unsolicited emails.

SecureWorks’ Don Smith said that cyber attacks can not only compromise precious data within an organisation, but also impact upon productivity and revenue as the ripples spread. Mr Smith believes that many businesses only act on security flaws once they have been exploited by a cyber attack and that this means that some incidents are entirely avoidable.

Mr Smith suggests that businesses need to take a multi-faceted approach to data security and data loss prevention, incorporating standard measures with modern analytical tools and encryption techniques to ensure that all systems are water tight and thus far more difficult for criminals to infect.

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