Majority of big British firms not prepared for cyber attack

An annual health check found that more than two thirds of British businesses not prepared for cyber attacks.
An annual health check found that more than two thirds of British businesses not prepared for cyber attacks.

More than two-thirds of 
Britain’s biggest businesses have admitted staff lack training to deal with the growing threat of cyber attacks, research has shown.

Top companies and charities have been told to do more to protect themselves from online threats after a UK government survey of leading firms found 10 per cent of FTSE 350 companies had no plan to cope with attacks.

The annual Cyber Governance Health Check found 68 per cent of boards had received no training in what to do in a cyber attack despite more than half (54 per cent) acknowledging it was a top threat to their business.

Separate research found charities, particularly small organisations which rely on outside IT providers to deal with cyber threats, were also at risk.

Cyber security has been of increasing concern for 
ministers in the wake of a worldwide ransomware attack which hit the NHS in May, affecting phone lines, scans and patient records and forcing hospitals to cancel operations.

Politicians at Westminster and Holyrood have also been targeted by hackers, who undermined around 90 email accounts in London in June, including those of three MPs.

MSPs and Holyrood staff were warned last week that hackers were attempting to access weak email accounts.

Digital minister Matthew Hancock said: “We have world-leading businesses and a thriving charity sector but recent cyber attacks have shown the devastating effects of not getting our approach to cyber security right.

“These new reports show we have a long way to go until all our organisations are adopting best practice and I urge all senior executives to work with the National Cyber 
Security Centre and take up the government’s advice and training.

“Charities must do better to protect the sensitive data they hold and I encourage them to access a tailored programme of support we are developing alongside the Charity Commission and the National Cyber Security Centre.”

The Cyber Security Among Charities report, also published today, found wide 
variation between charities on awareness of the threat.