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Nearly half of businesses in study hit with cyber attack in last year


Almost half of about 4,000 businesses surveyed have suffered some sort of cyber attack in the past year, according to a report from Bermuda-based insurer and reinsurer Hiscox Ltd. on Tuesday.

The second Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report, conducted by Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Forrester Research Inc., includes 4,103 organizations of varying size in the private and public sectors across five countries: the U.K., U.S., Germany, The Netherlands and Spain, according to a statement from Hiscox.

Of the organizations surveyed, 45% were hit by at least one cyber attack in the past year and two-thirds of those targeted suffered two or more attacks, the report said.

For those organizations targeted, the average cost to each business over the past year was $229,000, the report said.

Costs, however, escalated sharply in some cases. For the largest organizations surveyed, those with at least 1,000 employees, the average cost of an attack ranged from $356,000 in Spain to $1.05 million in the U.S., the report said.

Companies are moving to address and combat the threat, according to the report.

Almost three-fifths, or 59%, of respondents plan to increase their cyber security budgets in the year ahead, and new technology “tops the shopping list despite this being the area where the bulk of firms appear best prepared,” the report said.

The report also suggests that technology is just one component of a proper defense against attacks, saying, “Cyber security is not an IT issue but rather a risk for the whole organization; tackling it is more about people, behavior and culture than clever technology.”