Cyber security is definitely one of those areas where you need to evaluate the validity of any information you find online before accepting it. The figures about the prevalence and under reporting of cyber attacks comes from a 2010 CyberSecurity Watch survey carried out in the US by a number of organisations, including the US Computer Emergency Response Team. The survey states that ‘the public may not be aware of the number of incidents because almost three-quarters (72%), on average, of the insider incidents are handled internally without legal action or the involvement of law enforcement.’
The estimate of 1000 attacks per hour is based on the BIS Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2014. We took the number of organisations that reported that they were attacked ‘hundreds of times a day’ in different ways, and assumed that each of these responses were attacked a minimum of 100 times per day, we worked out that there were at least 24156 attacks per day across the 1098 organisations surveyed. Dividing this by 24 suggests that there are a minimum of 1000 attacks per hour.
We shop online. We work online. We play online. We live online. More and more, our lives depend on online, digital services. Almost everything can be done online – from shopping and banking to socialising and card making – and all of this makes the internet, also known as cyberspace, an attractive target for criminals.
Large-scale cyber security breaches often make the headlines but about 70% of organisations are keeping their worst security incidents under wraps, so what makes the news is just a small proportion of the breaches that are actually taking place. Britain is being targeted by up to 1,000 cyber attacks every hour.
We all have a responsibility to protect services from being maliciously disrupted or misused, through our vigilance, through our own security measures and through reporting events when they arise.
The knowledge, tools and best practices relating to protecting the computers, communications networks, programs and data that make our digital lives possible are collectively referred to as cyber security, or information security.