'One Fifth of UK Consumers Hit By Cyber Crime' Survey Figure Heralds Important Message To Businesses

The release of a Deloitte Cyber Crime Survey showing that one fifth of UK consumers have been hit by Cyber Crime last year means more cautious consumers and a need for businesses to understand more about their cyber assets and how to protect them.

Confidence Affected

The survey showed that one fifth of UK consumers had suffered a cyber attack where personal details had been stolen and their bank accounts had been used by criminals online. This had led to 41% of them often feeling that they were being targeted.

The Changing Environment

The amount of data that we all now store online, and the fact that 53% of us don’t know the level of personal details that organisations have collected about us means that as consumers we are all at greater risk than ever before of cyber crime.

The Challenges For Business

The increased variety and frequency of cyber attacks has made cyber crime a business-wide rather than just an IT issue. The significant rise in online transactions in recent years, both B2B and B2C means that there is more transactional data for criminals to target and more for businesses to keep track of and to keep safe.

There are also existing regulations and new regulations coming in that businesses need to comply with. One shouldn't forget the not insignificant matter of the increasing costs of cyber crime prevention measures.

The Messages For Business

The message of this and other surveys like it is that as far as consumers are concerned their data security is now an issue of paramount importance to them. Consumers are more aware of cyber crime, are looking less likely to trust companies to look after their data, and may be less likely to share as much information when buying online.

Businesses therefore need to understand and take stock of where their cyber assets are, especially where consumer data is concerned, and what could happen if those assets were accessed by criminals.

A security auditing and reviewing process should be used to identify areas to be improved, and focus investment in improving security and patching weaknesses. All staff in businesses should be made aware of the importance of protecting data and of the risks of cyber attack, and how they can play their part to helping prevent it.

The introduction of new Data Protection Regulation in 2017 which will give more power to consumers means that businesses now have a window of opportunity to put secure measures in time.

Businesses should also try to tackle the crisis of confidence in consumers by re-assuring them about security on their websites and by being transparent about how their data is collected and used.

With a forecast of a record breaking Black Friday (November 27th in 2015 - the biggest shopping day of this year)  and Cyber Monday (November 30th in 2015), and with the retail season under way, ways of gaining and maintaining consumer trust are crucial.

Not All Bad in the UK

UK Businesses for the most part however have been well aware of the threats for some time and haven’t been complacent about them.

An EY Global Fraud Survey from June last year showed that UK businesses saw cyber crime as a bigger threat than international counterparts with 74% of respondents believing it to be a high risk to their organisations compared to 49% in other countries.