Unprecedented Number of Cyberattacks Hit UK Businesses Amid Pandemic Lockdown

UK companies see a 13 percent increase in the number of cyberattacks The majority of attacks originate from China and Taiwan File-sharing applications were the main targets

  • UK companies see a 13 percent increase in the number of cyberattacks
  • The majority of attacks originate from China and Taiwan
  • File-sharing applications were the main targets

The COVID-19 lockdown in the UK had an unwanted side effect on businesses, as cybercriminals stepped up their attacks and breach attempts to one every 45 seconds, according to a report from ISP Beaming.

In the UK, like in the rest of the world, governments enforced lockdowns to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The measure directly affected the number of cyberattacks against businesses, as Beaming found out. Between April and June 2020, the company served as witness as UK businesses suffered almost 177,000 separate attempts to breach their systems. That’s a 13 percent increase from the first quarter of 2020.

“Beaming’s analysts identified 341,000 unique IP addresses used to attack UK businesses in the second quarter of 2020,” states the report. “Thirty-seven thousand of these were traced to locations in China. The ISP identified increasing numbers of attacking IP addresses located in Taiwan (up 32% to 32,000 in the quarter) and the USA (up 13% to 17,000).”

File-sharing applications were one of the main targets, registering a 27 percent increase in the second quarter, for an average of 5,900 per company. The IoT ecosystems were the most affected, by far, with attackers mainly preferring building control systems and networked security cameras, with 14,000 online attacks per company.

With so many people working from home, the increase in attacks is not all that surprising. A survey from NetMotion revealed that two-thirds of employees use software tools not vetted by the IT department, such as Google Docs, Doodle, WhatsApp and Zoom.

Another study showed that only 37 percent of small and medium businesses believed they might fall victim to a cyberattack, a problem made worse by more than half of business owners who wrongly believe they are equipped to deal with a security incident.