Brian Sims

“500-plus potential cyber attacks logged every second” reports BT

ON AVERAGE, more than 46 million signals of potential cyber attacks are witnessed every single day across the world. That’s according to new data released by BT. Cyber security experts at the company currently log more than 530 signals of potential attacks every second as they guard global networks against an army of malicious actors seeking to exploit vulnerabilities by targeting businesses and Critical National Infrastructure.

With businesses of every size ‘going digital’, the most targeted industries in the past 12 months have been IT, defence, banking and insurance. In fact, 19.7% of all malware sightings are directed towards these high-stakes targets.

The retail, hospitality and education sectors are also at high risk, accounting for 14.9% of malware sightings across the last 12 months. Criminals often capitalise on seasonal sales and spikes in online traffic, in turn rendering the upcoming festive period a particularly worrying one for retailers.

Small businesses, start-ups and charities are also finding themselves in the firing line. Approximately 785,000 cyber crimes were unearthed across UK charities in the last 12 months. This suggests that cyber criminals are going for organisations and sectors that are less ‘traditional’ targets and may not have the necessary security tools in place to protect themselves. The use of Big Data and connected tech is now so widespread that almost anyone can be a target.

Seeking weaknesses

BT’s data shows that, every 30 seconds, cyber criminals scan any device connected to the Internet looking for weaknesses, using automation and machine learning to identify vulnerabilities in business defences: the digital equivalent of a burglar looking for an open window.

All of this means that the average business will have its network scanned and tested by cyber criminals over 3,000 times each day. That being the case, it’s critical for organisations to have the right tools in place to identify and prevent attacks, and also to review these mechanisms on a regular basis.

These figures become particularly concerning when it emerges that well over half of all businesses (61%, in fact) in the UK state that keeping up-to-date with cyber security measures is becoming increasingly difficult. This is compounded by the challenge of making sure the whole organisation is aware of the threats, with one-in-four (26%) of all businesses surveyed suggesting that this is their biggest pain point.

Answering the call  

With Cyber Security Awareness Month having drawn to a close, BT is answering the call for assistance by launching a new podcast series explaining the remarkable true stories behind some of the world’s most harrowing cyber hacks. ‘True Cyber Crime Stories by BT’, which is narrated by Adrian Lester (star of The Undeclared War) is designed to speak to the 43% of decision-makers who turn to podcasts for business-related content.

In a digital age where every click and connection presents a risk, BT’s new podcast series shines a timely light on ‘invisible’ crimes. The cautionary tales evidenced within are for anyone curious about the growing battleground of digital crime – from a casino broken into via a fish tank through to schools and hospitals that have been exploited and on to the great X (formerly Twitter) heist.  

Serving customers in upwards of 180 countries, BT manages cyber security for private and public sector organisations alike around the world in addition to Critical National Infrastructure. Its team comprising 3,000 cyber security professionals defends against thousands of cyber attacks each and every day.

Tris Morgan, managing director for the security function at BT, commented: “The volume of cyber threats in the UK is rising at an alarming rate. As such, t’s really concerning that so many businesses and public services are leaving themselves open to attack. The fabric of the modern business has changed. There’s now more connected tech for hackers to exploit, more valuable data to target and a bigger prize at stake for them if they make it through.”

Morgan continued: “With more than one million business customers on its books, BT is the first line of cyber defence for organisations across the world. We’re proud of our long heritage of protecting people, businesses and Critical National Infrastructure. That’s why we’re launching the ‘True Cyber Crime Stories by BT’ podcast series. We want to shine a light on the shocking impact this particular crime epidemic can have, raise awareness of the risks and encourage everyone to think about what they could be doing to protect today’s businesses and essential services.”

Underbelly of cyber crime

Adrian Lester observed: “Truth is so often stranger than fiction. That old adage certainly rings true in the dark underbelly of cyber crime. It’s fascinating when you scratch beneath the surface to see an invisible war being played out.”

Lester added: “The five-part podcast series aims to shed light on some of the more remarkable true stories. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed recreating these tales with BT. While not every business will have a fish tank that can be hacked, I’m sure all listeners will take away some valuable lessons to prevent them from being caught out.”

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