From London to Wales, cyber-attacks are tearing through UK businesses at an astonishing rate, with an average of 48% falling victim to cybercrime. In the last 13 months alone, targeted companies have reported losses of around £3.5 billion, with businesses in London reporting a staggering £1.4 billion in losses alone.
According to data collected and analysed by cybersecurity services provider, ramsac, has uncovered that businesses operating in regions like London and the East of England could be the most at risk. Although every region across the UK carries its own level of risk when it comes to a cyber-attack, the study has highlighted that some businesses are already more vulnerable simply because of their location.
The UK’s biggest cyber target
Firstly, all regions across the UK and Northern Ireland are vulnerable to cyber-attacks with London and East of England at higher risk than regions like Wales and the North East. Based on a score out of 60, the data considers the volume of cybercrime incidents across each region, alongside reported financial loss, average financial loss per incident, GDP per capita and the density of business population within the area.
- East of England
- South East
- West Midlands
- North West
- South West
- Northern Ireland
- East Midlands
- Yorkshire & Humber
- North East
- Tarian (Wales)
Each of the 12 regions included in the study was given points based on where they ranked for each metric. With the points given ranging from 1 to 12, the more points a region was given the more influence that metric had on the region.
The visual above shows the final ranking, combining the points given for all metrics. Note that some metrics reveal a region’s vulnerability to cyber-attacks, such as business density, whilst others reveal the current impact of cyber-attacks on a region, such as reported financial losses. Combined, these metrics provide a complete overview of cyber-attack risk and reported impact within each region.
Where is the next cyber-attack likely to happen?
Unfortunately, London has come out on top of all the regions. With the highest recorded number of cybercrime incidents at 5,395 – out of the whole country -, between 2022 and 2023 the region also reported a staggering £1.4 billion in financial losses. And this figure is still rising.
As one of the UK’s central hubs for business and trading, it’s easy to understand why London is a prime target for cybercriminals. Our capital city is rich in data, with each business storing thousands or millions of personal and customer records.
Without a preventative cybersecurity strategy in place, it’s already an invitation for opportunists and data harvesters. Businesses that don’t adopt the right approach to cybersecurity, could easily see critical data fall into the wrong hands.
What other regions are vulnerable to a cyber-attack?
As an economically prosperous region, the East of England saw 42% of its businesses suffer a cyber-attack in 2022 alone. Over the last 13 months, around £284.8 million have been recorded as losses for the area. However, as an area that boasts around £109.2 billion in revenue, it makes businesses vulnerable to financially-motivated cybercriminals.
With higher revenues, it attracts cybercriminals seeking financial rewards, meaning there could be an increase in ransom attacks. SMEs are also attractive, even with a smaller database compared to much larger corporations.
Unfortunately, many SMEs often believe that cybersecurity lacks importance, meaning they’re less likely to have the right cybersecurity strategy in place that deters criminals. What’s more, with a business population half the size of London’s, cybercriminals have fewer businesses to target, meaning a better chance of success. So, if you’re an SME without a cybersecurity strategy or a business boasting high revenue, are you safe?
Who is least likely to experience an attack?
With Wales scoring 10 out of 60 and the North East scoring 18, it’s clear that cyber-attacks still haunt these regions. Although they boast the lowest likelihood, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s because they have a better approach to cybersecurity than London or the East of England. After all, both regions recorded over 980 different cybercrime incidents between 2022 and 2023.
As a region, Wales has also lost a significant amount to cybercrime, with £48.9 million reported in losses. For an area with only £18 billion in revenue, this is a huge loss. Likewise, the North East has seen losses around the £40.8 million mark in the last 13 months alone. Whilst this is less than Wales, the area generated £109.2 billion by the end of 2021’s financial year, meaning it faired better against the repercussions of cybercrime.
What should all businesses consider?
It’s immediately clear that no business is safe when it comes to cybercrime. Whether you’re an SME operating within the North East or a global entity trading in London, you remain a target for cybercriminals. Without preventative action, such as a cybersecurity strategy or remote backup solution, your business’ data and financial records could be at the mercy of criminals.
Your next steps should be:
- To fully evaluate the impact a cyber-attack could have on your business.
- To assess weak points within your IT infrastructure.
- To consider if cybersecurity stretches across your business.
- To employ a cybersecurity monitoring service to support your business.
With the UK boasting a range of high-profile companies, and businesses rich in data, they become an immediate attraction for cybercriminals. Without proper cybersecurity protocols in place, like a cybersecurity service, your business could be the next target.