88% of UK businesses “harbour security concerns” around 5G network roll-out

Carbon Black, the cloud-native endpoint protection company, has issued the results of its third UK Threat Report based on a survey of 250 CIOs, CTOs and CISOs across the UK. The results show that the threat environment is “sustained and sophisticated” with phishing attacks serving as the primary cause of data breaches.

In the UK, 84% of businesses reported suffering a data breach during the past 12 months, while the same number reported an increase in overall attack volume across the same period. 90% of UK respondents said cyber attacks have grown more sophisticated. 88% observed that they have IT security concerns around digital transformation projects and the 5G network roll-out.

76% of those UK organisations surveyed* stated they’re more confident in their ability to repel cyber attacks than they were 12 months ago. 90% explained that threat hunting has improved their defences and 93% said they plan to increase their security budgets over the next year

Rick McElroy, head of security strategy at Carbon Black, commented: “As we analyse the findings of our third UK Threat Report, it appears businesses are adjusting to the ‘new normal’ of sustained and sophisticated cyber attacks. Greater awareness of external threats and compliance risks have also prompted businesses to become more proactive about managing cyber risks as they witness the financial and reputational impacts that breaches entail.”

The latest report from Carbon Black found a sharp increase in breaches caused by phishing attacks in the UK compared to its prior report, indicating threat actors are targeting the weakest link in the security chain – users.

35% of UK businesses surveyed noted a degree of financial damage associated with breaches, with 9% suggesting that damage was severe. In contrast, 72% said they suffered damage to their corporate reputation, with 13% saying it was severe and only 24% observing that there was no impact at all.

Defender confidence on the rise

Participating UK businesses reported feeling more confident in their ability to repel cyber attacks than they did 12 months ago, the report found. 47% of businesses said they feel a little more confident, while 29% said they feel a lot more confident.

McElroy added: “As the cyber defence sector continues to mature, businesses are becoming more aware of the tools at their disposal and the tactics they can use to combat cyber attacks. We believe this growing confidence is indicative of a power shift in favour of the defenders, who are now taking a more proactive approach to hunting out and neutralising threats than previously.”

This is underlined by the 90% of UK businesses surveyed who reported seeing their defence strengthened through threat hunting and 78% who found evidence of malicious cyber attack activity during hunting exercises. Recognition of cyber security investment benefits is further supported by the fact that 93% of UK businesses surveyed said they planned to increase their cyber security budgets in the next 12 months.

Concern about digital transformation

Asked about security around the implementation and management of digital transformation programmes and the 5G roll-out, only 11% of UK respondents said they had no concerns. 38% predicted it would offer more effective and destructive methods of cyber attacks.

*The survey was undertaken by an independent research organisation, Opinion Matters, in August. 2,012 CIOs, CTOs and CISOs were surveyed for this global research project across multiple countries including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Singapore and the UK. Companies were from a range of industries including the finance sector, healthcare, Government, retail, manufacturing, food and beverages, oil and gas, professional services and media and entertainment

**To download the full UK Executive Summary click here

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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