Cyber crime costing firms dear

Steve Pye, chairman of the Blackpool FSB branch.

Steve Pye, chairman of the Blackpool FSB branch.

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New research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) shows that cyber crime costs its members around £785m a year as they fall victim to fraud and online crime.

In a new report, Cyber security and fraud: the impact on small businesses, the FSB has partnered with the Home Office and the Business Department to look at issues affecting small firms.

The report shows that 41 per cent of FSB members have been a victim of cyber crime in the past 12 months, putting the average cost at around £4,000 per business.

Around three in 10 members have been a victim of fraud, typically by a customer or client (13 per cent) or through ‘card not present’ fraud (10 per cent).

For the first time, the FSB has looked at the impact that online crime has on a business.

The most common threat to businesses is virus infections, which 20 per cent of respondents said they have fallen victim to; eight per cent have been a victim of hacking and five per cent suffering security breaches.

The FSB is concerned that the cost to the wider economy could be even greater as small firms refuse to trade online believing the security framework does not give them adequate protection. Indeed, previous FSB research shows that only a third of businesses with their own website use it for sales.

The report finds that almost 20 per cent of members have not taken any steps to protect themselves from a cyber crime.

However, 36 per cent of respondents say they regularly install security patches to protect themselves from fraud and almost six in 10 members regularly update their virus scanning software to minimise their exposure to online crime.

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