Cyber Security iStock_000020317880SmallThe number of companies suffering external cyber attacks designed to steal commercial secrets doubled in 2012-13 compared with the previous financial year, according to statistics that underscore the growing cyber threat to companies.

The figures were published amid warnings from cyber experts that companies were not doing enough to defend themselves against hackers despite the numbers of attacks.

Of the companies that reported information theft over the period, 35 per cent said they were victims of external hackers, compared with 18 per cent during the previous year, according to annual fraud statistics compiled by Kroll.

One possible reason for the reported increase in hacking is that companies “are now far more aware of the situation and can identify what’s going on” said EJ Hilbert, Kroll’s UK head of cyber investigations and a former FBI investigator.  “But also there’s a lack of understanding of how [the attacks are] done.”

Kroll found that 75 per cent of respondents were vulnerable to hacking, with 68 per cent reporting that they invest in IT security, “which raises the question of how exposed the other third might be”, Kroll said.

Kroll’s survey polled more than 900 senior executives around the world, 49 per cent of whom were employees of companies with revenues exceeding $500m. While the threat from external hackers is rising, information theft “is typically an inside job”, according to Kroll’s report.

Where the perpetrator was known, 39 per cent of cases claimed an employee was responsible, up from 37 per cent last year.

Source:  Financial Times