87 Percent of Small Businesses in the UK Were Hit by Cyber Attacks in 2012

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According to a new report from the UK's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), 87 percent of small firms experienced a security breach in 2012, and 93 percent of large organizations were also targeted (h/t PC Pro).

The research also found that affected companies experienced an average of 50 percent more attacks than a year ago, and the median number of breaches suffered was 113 for a large organization and 17 for a small business.

The average cost of the worst security breach for small organizations was between £35,000 and £65,000, and the average cost for large organizations was between £450,000 and £850,000. Several individual breaches cost more than £1 million.

Fully 81 percent of respondents said senior management hadn't been able to put effective security in place even though it was made a high priority.

"Keeping electronic information safe and secure is vital to a business' bottom line," Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said in a statement. "Companies are more at risk than ever of having their cyber security compromised, in particular small businesses, and no sector is immune from attack."

In response, the UK's Technology Strategy Board has extended its Innovation Vouchers Scheme, which allows SMEs to bid for up to £5,000 to improve their cyber security. "The package of support we are announcing today will help small businesses protect valuable assets like financial information, websites, equipment, software and intellectual property, driving growth and keeping UK businesses ahead in the global race," Willetts said.