Cyber security: The latest thinking

Ransomware, vulnerabilities targeting Wi-Fi and IoT botnets are putting firms at risk. But new tools and techniques are emerging to help companies fight back, as Kate O’Flaherty discovers

Nearly half of all UK companies suffered a breach over the past 12 months, according to the Government’s Cyber Security Breaches Survey. The average cost to large businesses over the period was £20,000, and in some cases the figure reached millions of pounds.

Breaches most commonly took place via phishing emails coaxing staff into revealing passwords or financial information. At the same time, ransomware, such as the WannaCry cryptoworm that hit the NHS, has become a prolific form of attack. In October, vulnerabilities were discovered in the WPA2 protocol that can help attackers hijack Wi-Fi data transmission.

As a backdrop to this, the landscape is changing very quickly, says Simon McCalla, CTO at Nominet. “Breaches are becoming common, as is the diversity of how they are happening,” he says, pointing out that criminals are carrying out many targeted attacks over multiple protocols. “It makes it so much harder to protect your business when you are being attacked from both sides.”

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