Half of U.S. Businesses Report Being Hacked

September 29, 2017

More than half of U.S. businesses (53 percent) have experienced a cyber attack in the past year, according to a survey of business executives.

The nationwide survey, released by The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Co. (HSB), part of Munich Re, found that of those businesses hacked in the previous 12 months, 72 percent spent more than $5,000 to investigate each cyber attack, restore or replace software and hardware, and deal with other consequences.

More than a third of the hacked businesses (38) percent spent more than $50,000 to respond: 10 percent spent $100,000 to $250,000, and seven percent more than $250,000.

“In addition to the rising number of cyber attacks and related costs, businesses are increasingly anxious about protecting their data,” said Timothy Zeilman, vice president for HSB, a leading provider of cyber insurance. “Data is what drives a business and the loss or corruption of information can be devastating.”

Seven in 10 executives were concerned that data would be destroyed as a result of a cyber attack and 62 percent were concerned about equipment damage.

The survey results backed up their worries: the most common consequence of cyber attacks was data loss (60 percent), followed by business interruption (55 percent).

Malware (53 percent) and viruses (51 percent) were the most common types of cyber attacks. Businesses and institutions also experienced distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks (35 percent); ransomware (29 percent); cyber extortion (25 percent) and social engineering (13 percent).

Security experts warn that employees are a weak link in safeguarding information and the business leaders agreed. When asked to identify the biggest risk to cyber security, the respondents cited negligent and disgruntled employees (45 percent) and hackers (37 percent).

Almost two-thirds of companies (61 percent) purchased or increased their level of cyber insurance coverage over the past year, and 56 percent of them purchased cyber insurance for the first time.

The study was conducted by Zogby Analytics for HSB. Zogby Analytics surveyed 403 chief executive, chief information, chief technology, chief operating, chief financial officers and other senior executives in the United States. They represented a variety of businesses and institutions with revenues ranging from under $5 million to more than $200 million.

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