Endpoint security specialist Carbon Black has just released the results of its second UK Threat Report. The research indicates that the UK’s cyber threat environment is intensifying. According to the report, attacks are growing in volume, while the average number of breaches has also increased. The report analyses survey results from different vertical sectors, organisation sizes and IT team sizes to build a picture of the modern attack and cyber defence landscape in the UK.
When it comes to key survey research findings, 88% of UK organisations reported suffering a breach in the last 12 months. The average number of breaches per organisation over the past year was 3.67. 87% of organisations have seen an increase in attack volumes, with 89% of organisations saying attacks have become more sophisticated. 93% of organisations now plan to increase spending on cyber defence.
Compared with the previous report, published in September, the average number of breaches has increased from 3.48 to 3.67. 5% and more organisations have seen an increase in attack volumes.
100% of Government and local authority organisations surveyed reported being breached in the past 12 months, suffering 4.65 breaches on average. 40% have been breached more than five times. In the private sector, the survey indicates that financial services are the most likely to report a breach, with 98% of the surveyed companies reporting breaches during the past 12 months.
“We believe our second UK Threat Report underlines that UK organisations are still under intense pressure from escalating cyber attacks,” said Rick McElroy, head of security strategy for Carbon Black. “The report suggests that the average number of breaches has increased. As threat hunting strategies start to mature, we hope to see fewer attacks making it to full breach status.”
Weakest link in cyber security
According to the report, malware remains the most prolific attack type in the UK, with more than a quarter (27%) of organisations naming it the most commonly encountered. Ransomware holds second position (15%). However, the human factor plays a part in the attacks resulting in breaches.
Phishing attacks appear to be at the root of one-in-five successful breaches. When combined, weaknesses in processes and outdated security technology were reported factors in a quarter of breaches, indicating that failures in basic security hygiene continue to be high risk vectors that organisations should address as a priority.
Organisations across all sectors reported increases in the volume of attacks during the past 12 months. However, of those organisations surveyed, Government and local authority concerns saw particularly high increases, with 40% noting more than a 50% increase in the number of attacks. Similarly, in the healthcare sector, 29% of respondents noted increases of 50% or more.
A silver lining here is that 6% more of the organisations plan to increase cyber security spending compared to six months ago.
Delivering on its promise
60% of UK organisations surveyed said they are actively threat hunting, with more than a quarter (26%) doing so for a year or more. A very encouraging 95% reported that threat hunting has strengthened their defences.
The survey results suggest that threat hunting is most mature in the financial services sector, with 53% of organisations questioned having threat hunted for more than a year.
“We believe threat hunting is an integral part of a mature security posture,” added McElroy. “It’s encouraging to see the numbers here continuing to climb.”
Click here to download the full report from Carbon Black
*The survey was undertaken last month by independent research organisation Opinion Matters. More than 250 UK Chief Information Officers (CIOs), Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) and Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) were surveyed from companies in a range of industries including finance, healthcare, Government, retail, manufacturing, food and beverage production, oil and gas, professional services and media and entertainment