New research from data security company, Clearswift, has shown that over half (53%) of UK businesses have increased their cyber security spending since Britain voted to leave the European Union.
In preparation for leaving the EU, Professional Services and Manufacturing organisations were revealed as making the biggest change to security spending, with 60% and 53% of organisations in these industries respectively increasing investment in cyber security.
The research, which surveyed senior IT decision makers in UK organisations of more than 1,000 employees, also found that organisations are anticipating that Brexit will increase threats to data protection. The data revealed that the top three threats to organisations post-Brexit will be malware attacks (49%), phishing attacks (40%), and ransomware attacks (40%).
The threats identified by senior IT decision makers are reflected in the kinds of investments that are being budgeted for by organisations. With many of the threats focused on malicious players gaining access to sensitive information via targeted attacks, respondents identified data loss prevention (DLP) technologies (49%), regulatory compliance solutions (49%), and endpoint security (44%) as the top investment areas post-Brexit.
Brexit has brought about a time of uncertainty for the UK, especially around the security of our nation’s critical data and cyber criminals will take advantage of the confusion. But while the kinds of attacks identified in the survey are not new, the ways in which they are being delivered are becoming more advanced.
Clearswift CTO Dr Guy Bunker said: “It is critical for organisations to keep up with how cyber threats are evolving. For example, images are now a high risk to organisations - sensitive data can be hidden inside of everyday image files and then readily exfiltrated through email. Malicious payloads for botnets and RATs, Remote Access Trojans, can also be hidden and easily downloaded from websites and other digital collaboration channels without being noticed."
The research shows that Businesses need to expect an increase in phishing and Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks. “In the lead up to leaving the EU, as well as once we’ve left, businesses need to review their security posture and address weaknesses.
"A key focus for organisations to mitigate cyber risks is to start inside the organisation. Security training and threat awareness programs for staff, adapting policies and processes to securely handle critical information, as well as implementing suitable technology that acts as a safety net for accidents or malicious behaviour,” said Dr Bunker.