Cyber security: UK sees fivefold increase in data breaches

According to the Financial Conduct Authority, the UK experienced a fivefold increase in data breaches last year. In 2018, companies reported 145 breaches, compared to 25 the year prior. As almost every single UK business relies on digital technology and online services, the UK government has said it will invest in strengthening the UK’s cyber security.

Retail banks saw a 25% increase in cyber security breaches. In April, seven British retail banks had to halt or limit their systems following hacks which caused hundreds of thousands of pounds’ worth of damage. Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander, Barclays and Tesco Bank were just a few whose systems faced disruption.

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy announced measures for the UK to become a global pioneer in preventing some of the most damaging security threats. The UK government said that businesses and consumers alike would benefit from increased cyber security and protections built into digital devices and daily online services. It said that the UK would begin “designing out” several forms of cyber threats to online services and digitally enabled products by investing in developing hardware solutions to complement software solutions.

“We have long been told that businesses and individuals alike need to be planning ahead of hacks and the ensuing data breaches, but with hackers becoming more creative it seems our public cyber security needs to be improved,” the managing director of tech infrastructure specialists TransWorldCom, Paolo Sartori, commented.

“While banks normally have excellent and secure cyber security, it is only as strong as the security measures of individual employees, as malicious emails can penetrate even the most robust protection measures,” he continued.

Ensuring security from a cyber attack is something that everyone can make sure of. Cyber security can be strengthened as individuals become more cyber aware of their own personal data.

Some tips include adopting a passphrase on all your accounts (and making sure that this is different for every online account), updating software regularly, assessing your own digital footprint, being selective in your downloads, enabling two-factor authentications and backing up your data.

“Personal and professional cyber security go hand-in-hand, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and financial workers succumbing to fake emails for example leave us all exposed. It is easy to separate consumer data from corporate or public cyber security but in reality we are all human and education against these kind of attacks is of the outmost importance,” Sartori added.

Added measures from the British government compliment a basic education and understanding of how individuals can protect themselves from data breaches.

At 14:21 GMT today, shares in Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (LON:RBS) were trading at +0.62%.

Shares in Tesco PLC (LON:TSCO) were trading at -0.061% (14:22 GMT) and Barclays plc (LON:BARC) shares were trading at +0.83% (14:23).

At 15:07 CET today, shares in Banco Santander SA (BME:SAN) were trading at +1.59%.