UK SMEs hit by £17.4 billion cybercrime bill in 2018

News Article

New research from internet service provider, Beaming, has revealed that in 2018 UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) were affected by cybercrime to the tune of £17.4 billion.

Business cybercrime is the flavour of the month for fraudsters, with hacking, phishing and data breaches affecting millions of UK companies and causing billions of pounds of damage each year.

As part of Beaming’s annual cybersecurity report, research consultancy Opinium conducted a survey of 500 business leaders.

The survey found that almost two-thirds of UK SMEs with between 10 and 49 employees were the victims of cybercrime within the last 12 months. That works out to around 130,000 businesses across the nation at a cost of £13.6 billion pounds.

For those businesses with less than 10 workers, a mammoth 1.72 million businesses were the victims of online attacks, however, the overall cost is much lower at £705 million.

Whilst larger SMEs with between 50 and 249 members of staff were found to have suffered a similar fate and there were 21,000 victims of cybercrime in the past year at a cost of £3.1 billion – taking the total overall cost for SMEs to £17.4 billion.

With the constant technological advancements, SMEs need to take greater measures to protect against these risks.

In a separate survey, invoice fraud cost UK firms £93 million last year. The research, conducted by UK Finance revealed that more than four in 10 UK businesses are unaware of the potential risks associated with invoice fraud.

Last year these scams cost UK firms almost £93 million, with 3,280 invoice and bank scam cases reported – costing on average £28,000 per case.

Fortunately, in 2018, £29.6 million of the money lost to this type of fraud was returned to business customers.

UK Finance’s survey indicated that 84 per cent of large businesses were aware of the threat of invoice fraud, compared with 68 per cent of small businesses and just 55 per cent of sole traders.

Even though large firms were more likely to have taken the necessary precautions to protect themselves against these scams, they were also more likely to be the target of invoice fraud.

Managing Director of Economic Crime at UK Finance, Katy Worobec, said: “Invoice fraud could happen to businesses of all sizes. The gangs behind this type of fraud are increasingly sophisticated and will often get hold of details that allow them to pose convincingly as regular suppliers.”

If you feel like you have been a part of an invoice or mandate scam, it is important that you contact your bank straight away.

For more information on issues relating to cybercrime and Palmers’ cyber-crime prevention events, please contact us.