In another major initiative designed to improve the UK’s level of cyber security skills, Bletchley Park, the site of secret code breaking during the second World War, will become a training college from 2018. The plan to train a new generation of codemakers and codebreakers who can become the security, growth and cyber-innovation professionals the UK desperately needs, comes from a group set up by cybersecurity representatives including Cyber Security Challenge UK, The National Museum of Computing and BT security.
A problem for businesses large and small
Government research findings show that two thirds of large British businesses have been hit by a cyber breach or attack in the past year. Nearly seven out of ten attacks on all firms involved targeting valuable information or disrupting business operations by using viruses, spyware or malware. Cyber security isn’t just a problem for big business. According to research from the Federation of Small Businesses, smaller firms are attacked seven million times a year – costing the UK economy an estimated £5.6bn a year.
Smaller businesses may feel that they don’t have anything worth stealing, however, they will often hold sensitive data about their customers, such as credit card details or personal information that could give hackers the information they need to misuse the individual’s identity online. Attacks can involve malware, password attacks and phishing expeditions. One of the biggest threats comes from what’s called social engineering where hackers trick individuals into doing something they normally wouldn’t do, like giving out a password or opening an email attachment that contains malware.
Despite a rapidly growing number of cyberattacks, many businesses have yet to implement robust security strategies to protect their data and their customers’ personal information from cyber threats.
The government is encouraging all businesses to take appropriate action, and the National Cyber Security Centre web site offers practical guidance on how they can protect themselves in cyberspace.
Preventative measures businesses can take include investing in anti-virus and anti-malware software as well as intrusion detection systems, keeping their software up-to date, educating employees about the ways cybercriminals can attack via unsecured personal devices, having security policies in place that require strong passwords to be used and regularly updated, the encryption of data and deletion of suspicious emails.
Clearly, cyber security needs to be a major concern to UK businesses and is no longer just a systems issue. Depending on the size and scale of a business, a single network security breach can make the difference between staying in business and going under.
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