Businesses across Yorkshire need to be on ‘high-alert’ for the risk of cyber attacks, one of the region’s leading experts has claimed.
Roy Shelton, the CEO of the Connectus Group, spoke out after a major new report indicated the amount of money paid by businesses targeted by hackers was falling.
According to data released by experts at Chainalysis ransomware attackers extorted £370m million from victims in 2022 – which is down from £700m million the year before.
But Mr Shelton said the reality is that hackers and criminals are becoming more and more sophisticated. He told us: “On the face of it, these figures might seem encouraging. But the stark reality is that attacks on businesses continue to be a major problem, and incidents have rapidly increased since the pandemic.”
“Many companies often pay up but keep the details of this under the radar, so I suspect there is a lot more money being paid out than official figures might indicate.”
“And many other companies don’t report attacks or even have a mechanism for doing so. There needs to be a lot more focus within businesses of all sizes to take cybersecurity much more seriously.”
“I don’t think we should be celebrating these figures because the criminals behind these scams are only becoming more and more sophisticated in the range and nature of the type of frauds they are masterminding. Their actions destroy businesses, lives and reputations so businesses need to remain on red alert.”
Before Christmas a major UK Government report laid bare the scale of risk still facing UK firms. The key conclusions included the fact that, overall, the cyber resilience profile of organisations continued to vary between businesses and charities as well as by business size and sector.
It found businesses are more likely than charities to have formal, written cyber security policies and processes in place. And large businesses (250+ staff), and particularly very large businesses (500+ staff), demonstrated greater cyber maturity compared to medium businesses and charities.
Organisations’ approach to cyber was also found to likely be more reactive than proactive, with many struggling to get senior level buy-in to improve their cyber defences.
Mr Shelton concluded: “Since the pandemic the risk has grown and the danger of falling victim to a cyber attack has never been higher. And its vital businesses are on the front foot and get support in protecting themselves.”