Cyber security

More than half of businesses have reported a cyber-attack so far in 2019, according to new research.

The insurer's study found that 55% of firms have reported a breach, up from 40% in 2018. But it classified nearly three-quarters of those businesses as "novices" when it comes to cybersecurity.

Surveying over 5,400 businesses across the UK, France, Germany, the US, Belgium, Netherlands and Spain, 60% had reported an attack, up from 45% last year. The amount lost as a result of a breach also saw a sharp increase, up 61% from $229,000 (£176,000) to $369,000.

Hiscox said the UK performed particularly poorly in terms of the number of companies ranked highly for cybersecurity. With an average cybersecurity spend of $900,000, it ranks lowest among the seven nations and considerably below the average of $1.46 million.

Gareth Wharton, head of cyber at Hiscox, said the UK's low ranking could be due to its relatively large proportion of smaller businesses. Mr Wharton explained: "They may feel like they won't be targeted, as we tend to only read about large breaches in the press. If they incorrectly feel that they won't be targeted, they may be less likely to spend on cyber security."