Birmingham-based Serviceteam IT partners with University of Birmingham on new cyber security study

A third of UK businesses have suffered a cyber-attack in the past year, according to an industry report.

One in four of all gas and electricity companies have suffered an increase cyber-attacks in the past 12 months according to a survey commissioned by a Birmingham based cyber security company.

Companies interviewed in the survey believe overseas criminal gangs are responsible for the increase in attacks.

Over 1000 businesses in the insurance, marketing, and energy sectors were surveyed by academics from the University of Birmingham.

A total of 34% of those businesses reported an increase cyber-attacks.

The report found the hackers are attempting to steal customers’ personal data.

The report, ‘The Cloud Snapshot Survey’ interviewed bosses and technology experts from companies in the insurance, marketing, technology, energy sectors and scientific research sectors.

The report was conducted between 14 July and 11 August this year. The survey was conducted by telephone and email interviews.

The survey identified 37 UK based utility companies. A total of 16 gas and electricity utility companies responded to the survey.

The report was undertaken by University of Birmingham business school academics in cooperation with Serviceteam, an IT consultancy, based in Edgbaston.

Chief executive of Serviceteam, Sebastian Jesson-Ward, who commissioned the report said state sponsored criminals from Russia were likely to be behind the increase in attacks.

Mr Jesson-Ward said:

‘Within the energy sector the finding were dramatic. We discovered evidence of overseas cyber criminals attempting to gain access into the gas and electricity utilities to steal customer data.

‘These companies are investing heavily into protecting their customers’ data. Yet with every improvement the cyber criminals up their game. It’s a constant war and having the best defences is the best way for companies to protect themselves.

‘Cyber criminals are attempting to gain personal data from customers and also to gain access to the company’s intellectual property.

‘We work closely with the utilities industry and they are reporting an almost daily occurrence of attacks.’

In 2011 a UK Cabinet Office Report reported that cyber-attacks were costing the UK economy £27bn a year.

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