Public sector organisations in the UK are more likely by far to suffer an attack than other sectors, according to a new study by NNT Com Security.
The IT security firm has released its latest Global Threat Intelligence Report which shows that in the UK nearly 40% of malware attacks target public sector organisations - three times more than the next sector, insurance (13%) and nearly five times more than the media and finance sectors (both 9%).
However, globally the number one targeted sector is financial services, which receives 18% of all detected attacks.
Stuart Reed, senior director of Global Product Marketing at NTT Com Security, explained why the public sector appears to be such a popular target for cyber criminals.
"The fact that public sector figures are so high compared to other sectors in the UK is due largely to the value of the data that many of these organisations have, which makes them attractive and highly prized targets for malware attacks. While the level of threat may vary from organisation to organisation, they all have information that would be of interest to cyber criminals," he said.
The firm's report is based on analysis of over six billion security attacks in 2014. According to the study, business and professional services organisations are also prized as high-value targets with attackers, due to their connection with larger organisations. They are also seen as being much softer than other targets.
This sector accounted for 15% of malware observed and also experienced a sharp rise in attacks this year from 9% to 15% globally. In the UK, the sector accounted for 6% of all malware attacks.
The study also found that many organisations fail to protect against well-known attacks: 76% of identified vulnerabilities throughout all systems in the enterprise were more than two years old, and almost 9% of them were over ten years old.
Even more telling is the fact that 74% of organisations had no incident response plan in place in 2014.
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