SMEs not noticing cyber-attacks ‘until it is too late’

A new study suggests that an increasing number of UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are falling victim to cyber-crime – and many are failing to recognise they have been hit by an attack until it is too late.

According to the research, as many as one in five businesses claim to have been hit by cyber-attacks on social media – an area which many business owners admit to neglecting when it comes to enforcing cyber security in the workplace.

The survey, which was carried out by a prominent UK law firm, found that 50 per cent of SMEs had suffered ‘significant damage’ as a result of a social media cyber-attack, while nearly two thirds of businesses had been asked to pay hackers a ‘ransom’ in order to regain control of their accounts.

One in four SME owners told the study that they rarely checked up on their business’ social media accounts, while more than a third of SMEs said that they had no social media policy in place at work.

A large number of managers said that they automatically handed control of such accounts over to younger members of staff, on the assumption that such team members would be more ‘tech-savvy’.

Yet 40 per cent of those quizzed said that they offered no training to staff regarding social media policy, or how to avoid posting comments or content online which could potentially cause damage to their business, or attract the attention of cyber criminals.