Cyber attacks on UK businesses surged during lockdown

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The volume of cyber attacks on UK businesses increased after the country went into lockdown and reached unprecedented levels in the second quarter of 2020, according to analysis from Beaming, a specialist business ISP.

UK businesses experienced almost 177,000 separate attempts to breach their systems each, on average, between April and June 2020, the equivalent of one every 45 seconds. This was a 13% increase on the first quarter of the year and the highest level of cyber attack activity seen since Beaming began tracking attempts in 2016.

Beaming’s analysts identified 341,000 unique IP addresses used to attack UK businesses in the second quarter of 2020. Thirty-seven thousand of these were traced to locations in China. The ISP identified increasing numbers of attacking IP addresses located in Taiwan (up 32% to 32,000 in the quarter) and the USA (up 13% to 17,000).

The volume of attacks targeting file-sharing applications increased by more than a quarter (27%) in the second quarter to reach 5,900 per company. IoT applications such as building control systems and networked security cameras remained the most common targets for cybercriminals, attracting more than 14,000 online attacks per company.

Sonia Blizzard, Managing Director of Beaming, commented: “The cybercriminals came out in force as the UK went into lockdown and launched a barrage of attacks on businesses. We’ve all relied more on the internet to work, shop and communicate in the past few months, and our analysis shows that due to this change in circumstances this environment hasn’t just become busier – it’s required us to better protect ourselves too.

“Businesses of all sizes need to take action today to improve their resilience to cyber-attacks and keep their employees and data as secure as possible. Leaders must think beyond the basic protection most have today and boost business resilience with more sophisticated defences that incorporate technology, training and robust security policies.”

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