Shropshire Star

Cyber warning as business study reveals alarming results

New research by commercial insurer NFU Mutual has shown almost 80 per cent of people surveyed have been hit by cyber crime.

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Cyber security is vital

And nearly a third of that figure (31 per cent) say they have fallen victim in the past six months.

The study found the most common types of cyber crime are customer fraud (40 per cent), followed by data theft or breaches (35 per cent) and phishing scams (33 per cent).

More than a third of retailers (36 per cent) said that cyber-attacks were their most pressing concern in the current climate.

Worryingly, more than half of retailers don’t regularly update passwords and software or use antivirus.

Just 30 per cent of those surveyed claimed to have cyber insurance and only 36 per cent said they regularly trained staff on the risks associated with cyber crime.

According to the UK Government Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2023, the average annual cost of cyber crime for UK businesses is estimated at approximately £15,300 per victim.

James Trevis, NFU Mutual’s cyber specialist, said: “This is an important reminder of the threats businesses and retailers face when it comes to the ever-changing and complex online world.

“Our study shows how regularly businesses are being targeted by cyber criminals – especially in the last six months – and we would urge all retailers to stay vigilant and do all you can to avoid becoming a victim of this ever-growing crime.

“In the current digital age, cyber security is essential and it is good to see in the last six months, 37 per cent of those surveyed have increased IT security.

"Knowledge on these risks is just as important as other business risks and should be something all business should consider investing in.

“Retailers are a pillar of our local communities and economies so it’s vital they feel they are protected and supported should the worst happen.”

Among NFU Mutual’s cyber security advice for retailers is using strong passwords – but crucially don’t use the same log-in details or passwords across multiple accounts and services, always separate personal and business accounts.

It says businesses should implement Two Step Verification and ensure all software is up to date and kept updated on a regular basis.

The also advices people to back up files and data weekly and store on a separate, secure device.

Firms should also educate employees around cyber crime including how to spot potentially dangerous or fraudulent emails and install a firewall and anti-virus software on all company devices and keep them updated.

More advice is available at