Malicious cyber attacks more than double in 2018

The average number of cyber attacks with the potential to cause damage or result in the loss of high-value assets more than doubled in the first month of this year per organisation compared to in January 2017.


Tuesday 17

Malicious cyber attacks more than double in 2018

That is according to a global survey of security experts by consultancy firm Accenture, finding that companies are responding well to the challenge, with 87% of attacks now prevented compared to 70% in 2017.


However, with 13% still penetrating defences, it is estimated that organisations face an average of 30 successful security breaches per year that cause disruption to their operations.


“While the findings of this study demonstrate that organisations are performing better at mitigating the impact of cyber attacks, they still have more work to do,” Accenture Security managing director, Kelly Bissell, said.


“Building investment capacity for wise security investments must be a priority for those organisations who want to close the gap on successful attacks even further.”


The average number of ‘focused’ cyber attacks – defined as having the potential to both penetrate network defences and cause damage, or extract high-value assets and processes – on companies in January 2017 and 2018 are shown below:


Respondents to the Accenture survey included 4,600 enterprise security practitioners representing companies with annual revenues of $1bn (£0.7bn) or more across 15 countries.


As well as preventing more attacks, it was found that organisations are taking less time to detect security breaches, with 89% doing so within a month on average, compared to only 32% last year.


It was also found that 55% take a week or less to detect a breach, up from 10% in 2017, although only 64% manage to identify all of them, which is similar to last year.


Yet despite this progress, the findings show that just two out of five organisations are currently investing in technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence and automation.


The respondents also reported that cyber security programmes actively protect an average of only two-thirds of their organisation, with the majority agreeing that technology investment would be essential to improving security.


“For business leaders who continue to invest in and embrace new technologies, reaching a sustainable level of cyber resilience could become a reality for many organisations in the next two to three years,” Bissell added.


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