Wakey, wakey: Data breaches cost UK firms £4bn a year

hacker2Data breaches may now be so common that they are in danger of being dismissed but a new study should provide a major wake-up call to firms amid claims breaches cost up to £4bn a year in the UK alone, with identity theft the driving factor behind the majority of attacks.

The study, by Credas Technologies, claims there have been more than 28 million data breaches across the UK since 2013, while globally 10 billion digital data records have been stolen or breached in the same period.

The UK ranks fifth when it comes to national total data breaches, with over 140 million files stolen or breached in this timeframe, trailing just the US, India, China, and South Korea.

Across the UK, this equates to an average of 28 million data breaches a year, which is estimated to cost the UK £3.7bn on an annual basis.

One of the most common motivations for data hacking is ID fraud and the latest data from the National Fraud Database (NFD) shows this fraudulent practice accounts for 63% of all cases, up 22% in the past year alone.

Credas Technologies chief executive Tim Barnett said: “All of the most important financial elements of our lives are now handled online. We have passwords and logins for everything from our current accounts to our pension pots and we also apply for new bank accounts, mortgages, rental properties and more online.

“While this brings great convenience, it also leaves you vulnerable to criminals and today, the lengths these criminals will go to are advancing at a faster rate than some businesses and organisations are improving their digital security.

“Companies big and small need to make sure they’re doing all they can in the fight against online criminality and while that starts with ensuring they have a robust and unbreachable tech infrastructure, it also involves verifying the identity of consumers before they have the opportunity to infiltrate our society.

“This is the absolute minimum that should be done and with many companies choosing to do this manually, it allows far too many to slip through the cracks, enabling them to conduct criminal activities at ground level.”

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