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British Businesses Lag US In Cyber-Worrying

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Lloyds of London finds that UK firms should be more concerned about the cyber-crime threat

British businesses need to “wake up” to the seriousness of the threat of cyber-attacks, according to Lloyds of London, which found that US companies are significantly more aware of cyber-risks than the rest of the world.

Lloyds’ Risk Index 2011 report, based on a survey of more than 500 executives internationally, found that British companies have grown more concerned about the impact of cyber-attacks on their businesses, with this moving from 20th, on the 2010 list, up to 12th this year.

US takes lead in cyber-worrying

This position is still “relatively low given the frequency and potential impact of the risk”, Lloyds of London said.

It is also far lower than in the US, where cyber-attacks ranked fourth among businesses, after customer loss, damage to reputation and legislative uncertainty.

“It’s encouraging to see US businesses increasingly waking up to the threat of cyber-crime, as it presents a major risk to businesses and governments,” said Lloyds of London chief executive Richard Ward in a statement.

In Europe cyber-crime ranked 14th, while in Asia-Pacific it was 20th and in the rest of the world it was 23rd.

To illustrate the seriousness of the threat the study cited the 2011 hacking of state networks from India to Brazil, as well as private-sector hacks on Nintendo, CitiGroup, Honda, Toshiba Pfizer, Sony, Sega, Nokia, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Lockheed Martin and Google.

Victims

“Businesses should consider making the need to protect themselves and their customers a much greater priority,” Lloyds of London said in the report. “Given the roll call of recent victims, even large businesses need to ask if they really understand the nature of the risk to which they are exposed. Are they, in fact, spending money on the right things?”

A study by Websense Security Labs last month predicted an explosive year for cyber-crime in 2012, with growth in attacks on mobile devices and social network identities.

Last month a representative of the Metropolitan Police told the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee that the British cyber-crime policing system has improved, but still lacks a single point for reporting crimes.

Cyber-crime awareness has grown within the British government, with reforms at the Ministry of Defence set to include the creation of a new joint force command unit that will integrate the MoD’s cyber warfare and military intelligence units.