CUMBRIAN businesses are being urged to ensure their cyber security is up to scratch after figures revealed that 39 per cent of firms reported breaches or attacks in the past 12 months.

Latest Government figures reveal that cyber-attacks continue to pose a serious threat, with one in five of the businesses affected reporting a sophisticated attack such as denial of service, malware or ransomware attack.

Stephen Whelan, Technical Director at Carlisle-based technology business Integrity IT Solutions, said it was essential that businesses took steps to protect themselves against cyber-crime.

He said: “Every business, no matter how large or small, should have in place measures to prevent online criminals accessing their information and potentially damaging their business.

“Cyber criminals often see the human factor as the weakest link in any security measure, so it’s vital that every member of your team who has access to the internet or an email account receives cyber security training and understands the serious damage that these sorts of attacks can cause.”

The Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2022 found that the average estimated cost of cyber-attacks to businesses in the last 12 months was £4,200.

Stephen said: “Online criminals create phishing emails which look realistic, such as fake invoices or receipts, to make it more likely that someone will click on them.

“Weak passwords can be hacked in seconds, so choose longer and more unusual passwords and use different passwords for different accounts. It’s good practice to use a password manager to store and create strong, unique passwords.

“Two-Factor Authentication reduces the risk of being hacked by asking you to provide a second factor of information, such as getting a text or code when you log in. It’s a practice commonly used by credit card companies and one which can be easily enabled on software.”