Cyberwarfare incidents reported by almost half of UK firms

Cyber war

New research shows that 49 percent of UK businesses have reported cyberwarfare incidents to the authorities.

The report from Armis also shows 52 percent of UK IT leaders believe the government can't defend its citizens and enterprises against an act of cyberwarfare.

This lack of faith in the government is higher than anywhere else surveyed in Europe, including Germany (40 percent) and France (42 percent). This is also a significant change in sentiment compared to a year ago, when 77 percent of UK IT leaders had confidence in the UK government.

In an election year it's also worrying that 37 percent of UK IT leaders also believe cyberwar can impact the integrity of an electoral process -- this spikes significantly when speaking to respondents from the government sector (60 percent), the medical, healthcare and pharmaceutical industry (67 percent) and financial services (71 percent). In addition, 45 percent also say cyberwar can result in attacks on the media, outpacing concerns of respondents from the US, France and Germany.

"The IT industry's overwhelming sentiment that the government will be unable to keep citizens safe and the country secure underscores a critical shortfall in defensive measures to date," says David Critchley, regional director, UK and Ireland at Armis. "In this pivotal election year, it's imperative for the government and organizations to proactively rebuild national confidence by enhancing defensive cybersecurity strategies, coming together where they can to maximize forward strides. A robust investment in cybersecurity, coupled with the deployment of AI-driven tech, is our best chance to shield society from the threat of cyberwarfare."

There are concerns about the threat from particular countries, 46 percent of those surveyed in the UK say geopolitical tensions with China and Russia have created a greater threat of cyberwarfare. 45 percent percent of IT leaders say Russia poses a greater threat to global security than China. 50 percent also believe that North Korea's cyber capabilities have the potential to instigate a full-scale cyberwar that could cripple critical infrastructure worldwide.

Despite 56 percent of UK IT leaders saying they are concerned about the threat of cyberwarfare, only 27 percent say they have a plan in place to handle cyberwarfare and that it is not validated. 19 percent are uncertain their employees know who to speak to if they notice suspicious cyber activity.

"Make no mistake -- we are in a cyber arms race against our adversaries and society as we know it is at risk," says Nadir Izrael, CTO and co-founder of Armis. "Relying on legacy technologies and manual security processes is the equivalent of bringing a knife to a gunfight, given the threats we’re up against and the arsenal of nation-state actors. It is critical that security leaders fight fire with fire, leveraging AI-powered solutions that empower them with actionable intelligence before a vulnerability is announced, before an attack is launched and before their organization is impacted. Forewarned is forearmed."

You can get the full report from the Armis site.

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