UK SMBs are suffering more cyberattacks than ever before

Cyber attack
(Image credit: No credit)

More than half of all small and medium-sized enterprises in the United Kingdom have experienced some kind of cyberattack in the last 12 months.

A report from Vodafone, polling more than 500 SME owners found that the number of victims rose by 15% compared to two years ago to reach 54%. 

Consequently, the number of attempted attacks is also spiking. The report claims that a third (33%) of businesses saw more attempts last year, while just 18% said there had been a decrease in attempted hacks. About a fifth (19%) claims the average attack would set them back roughly $5,000 - a figure they wouldn’t be able to survive, with today’s costs.

Hybrid working making things difficult

The increased risks stem from a rise in remote and hybrid workers, Vodafone hints. 

Apparently, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) says that more than a third of UK businesses now use a hybrid working model, while the National Cyber Strategy 2022 said more remote working, more online transactions, and more digital technologies “increased exposure to risks”. 

Furthermore, the war in Ukraine has only made things worse, as the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) warned SMEs that they shouldn’t take cybersecurity lightly.

In reality, many indeed are taking cybersecurity lightly. Vodafone’s report found 18% not having cybersecurity at all, with an extra 5% not even knowing if they had any installed on their endpoints. Less than a third (28%) were aware of the Government’s Cyber Essentials scheme. 

With all that, Vodafone urged the UK government to do more to raise awareness among SMEs about the importance of cybersecurity, and to help improve local cybersecurity skills. 

For Andrew Stevens, Vodafone UK Head of Small and Medium Business, the report highlights a “lack of adequate skills and information” businesses need to stay protected.

“Whilst we welcome the progress that has been made by Government with the establishment of nine regional Cyber Resilience Centres across England and Wales, it’s clear that more needs to be done to support SMEs with their cybersecurity and help them protect their business online, especially during a cost-of-living crisis where they are most vulnerable,” Stevens added.

Sead Fadilpašić

Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.