Eight out of ten UK firms were hacked in 2009: survey

Almost 80 per cent of firms experienced one or more attacks via the internet last year

Eight in 10 UK firms experienced one or more attacks via the internet last year, according to a new survey.

Nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) of UK businesses now use Web 2.0 applications and online collaboration tools in business, according to the survey launched by Internet security provider Webroot at Infosecurity Europe 2010.

The global survey used Qualtrics survey software to poll 803 IT professionals in around 900 companies with 100 to 5,000 employees in the UK, USA and Australia.

Nearly all (98 per cent) companies surveyed allow their employees to access their network remotely, which raised concerns about the associated risks for one in four IT security professionals.

Gerhard Eschelbeck, CTO at Webroot, warned: "Employees are unwittingly putting their employers at risk of the growing threat of Web-based malware, as they increasingly turn to the internet to do business. Malware writers are becoming more and more adept at producing software designed to operate stealthily, and pilfer personal data including banking information and login credentials via websites."

However, he added: "We're finding that companies are starting to develop security strategies which more stringently enforce Internet use policies supported by the implementation of Web security solutions."

The research found that 95 percent of firms ban access to specific website or web-based activities, while 88 percent have a formal internet policy. Eighty percent of all companies surveyed prohibit access to gambling websites at work, which was particularly problematic for UK firms. Online gambling was a source of problems for 21 percent of UK firms, compared to just 12 percent in the US.

Meanwhile, only 20 percent of respondents have so far adopted Internet security software-as-a-service (Saas). However, a third of all companies plan to implement it this year, and in the UK, 50 percent plan to implement Internet security SaaS by 2011.

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