Criminals are launching more online attacks on UK businesses than ever before, it has been revealed in a new report by The National Cyber Security Centre. The report details some of the biggest cyber attacks from the last year and notes that risks to UK businesses continue to grow. Emerging threats are also highlighted, such as theft from cloud storage and cryptojacking, in which computers are hijacked to create cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.

The report acknowledges that a basic cybersecurity posture is no longer enough and most attacks will be defeated by organisations which prioritise cybersecurity and work closely with government and law enforcement.

Ciaran Martin, Chief Executive of the NCSC, said “We are fortunate to be able to draw on the cybercrime fighting expertise of our law enforcement colleagues in the National Crime Agency. This joint report brings together the combined expertise of the NCA and the NCSC. The key to better cybersecurity is understanding the problem and taking practical steps to reduce risk.”

“This report sets out to explain what terms like cryptojacking and ransomware really mean for businesses and citizens, and using case studies, shows what can happen when the right protections aren’t in place”

The Cyber Threat to UK Business report notes that firms are under increasing threat from ransomware, data breaches and supply chain weaknesses which can mean serious financial and reputational damage. It sites real-life case studies from businesses damaged by cybercrime, including ransomware attacks that have affected companies ranging from multi-national firms to independent restaurants.

While law enforcement and government have successfully battled many cyber threats this year, under-reporting of cybercrime by businesses means crucial evidence and intelligence about cyber threats and offenders is lost.

Donald Toon, director of the NCA’s Prosperity Command, said “UK business faces a cyber threat which is growing in scale and complexity. Organisations which don’t take cybersecurity extremely seriously in the next year are risking serious financial and reputational consequences. By increasing collaboration between law enforcement, government and industry we will make sure the UK is a safe place to do business and hostile zone for cybercriminals. Full and early reporting of cybercrime to Action Fraud will be essential to our efforts.”