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UK Firms Are Security Slowcoaches When It Comes To Spotting Online Attacks

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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British companies take an average of nine hours to spot network threats, well behind the likes of Australia and the US

British companies are taking far too long to spot unusual activity on their networks, putting them at severe risk of falling victim to cyber-attacks, a report has claimed.

A study by security firm Clearswift found that it takes UK firms an average of nine hours to detect anything strange, meaning that cybercriminals are often able to gain access to networks and resources without being spotted.

This put the UK far behind other leading nations such as Australia, Germany and the United States, which were all found to be far quicker in detecting threats,

At risk

uk cybersecurity lock ©shutterstock Borislav BajkicThe survey, which questioned 500 IT professionals across the selected countries, found that Australian firms were the quickest to discover threats, averaging around five hours, nearly half the time of UK companies.

British firms were also two hours behind their US counterparts, who take seven hours to identify abnormal activity, and one hour slower than German businesses, who take an average of eight hours.

The delayed attention is even more damaging as it seems to imply a nonchalance among UK firms concerning online attacks, as just 14 percent of respondents believe until their organisation has experienced a serious internal data breach.

“Cyber-attacks by unscrupulous individuals are becoming a major problem and its time for the UK to wake up to this fact,” said Dr Guy Bunker, SVP at Clearswift. “Speed holds the key and when it comes to speed of response, firms need to think in minutes not hours, constantly striving for better. Better still, organisations need to take a proactive stance. It is unfortunately a ‘when’ not an ‘if’ scenario.”

These figures are particularly worrying following the severity of several major data breaches to affect UK firms this year. Most notably, operator and broadband provider TalkTalk was hit by an attack that saw hundreds of thousands of customer details leaked online.

Clearswift notes that its findings highlight the potential damage that could be done in a matter of minutes, let alone hours, during an attack, as in the two hours with which UK firms lag behind their US counterparts, it estimates that 280,000 documents could be accessed and stolen in this additional reaction time.

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