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The rise of the invisible threat – cyber security shockers

Image: The rise of the invisible threat – cyber security shockers

Last year we saw a huge surge in global - and seemingly untouchable - organisations including Yahoo, LinkedIn and even presidential candidate Hilary Clinton subjected to IT hacks. Not only are high profile cases the issue, but according to our own research – it seems that UK business are also taking a hit with almost one in five (18%) being targeted by hackers in the past 12 months alone.

These breaches have made us more wary of online security threats – and rightly so! Our recent study has uncovered some shocking trends amongst smaller companies. UK firms are seriously compromising their confidential data, and unknowingly committing security violations due to a lack of knowledge of their IT systems and document security. The findings from this research have been compared to our similar study carried out in 2013 to mark where UK businesses have developed in terms of their online security.

The UK’s biggest faux pas in business security were revealed as:

1. Companies not having a firewall
A whopping 41% of companies do not have a firewall installed – one of the first steps to take when protecting cyber privacy.

2. Failing to change old passwords
More than half of businesses (56%) do not change their passwords regularly. Not only is this important due to employee changes, but also reduce the opportunity for it to be guessed.

3. Not protecting data stored on printers or photocopiers
Not everyone knows that this is a huge privacy threat, but machines such as printers and photocopiers store data. 74% of businesses did not know this.

As you may have guessed, the primary reason for IT hacks in 2016 was phishing emails. This is when fraudsters attempt to obtain sensitive information for malicious reasons. 12% of those questioned have also experienced a hack via their telecoms systems, with the most common methods being via remote voice mail access (54%), remote programming (47%) and IP phones (29%).

When it comes to scanning or photocopying documents, 72% of UK businesses admit to regularly processing highly confidential documents such as birth certificates (29%), client confidential documents (26%) and even company insurance documents (23%), yet an overwhelming 70% are unaware that a photocopier will store every single document that it scans – a serious hacking risk when connected to a company network.

Despite this, an impressive 76% of IT Directors questioned revealed that they always wipe their internal hard drive before getting rid of obsolete printers, a 30% increase from 2013.

One of the primary reasons behind a lack in investment into security strategies is being too costly – be that time or money. 50% of companies have complained that it is simply too expensive and 38% say it’s too time consuming. 24% said that it was all just too confusing.

Although UK businesses still have a long way to go in terms of security in the office, especially concerning simple elements like firewalls and changing passwords, it’s very positive to see that the amount of hacks has decreased significantly and a huge majority of UK IT directors always wipe their internal hard drives before disposing of them.
Hopefully businesses will continue to improve their office tech security, through simple precautions such as changing passwords, password protecting data and installing a simple security systems. We look forward to even more positive results in the years to come!

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