The Industries Most Exposed to Cyber-attacks

An overwhelming number of businesses today are at threat of cybersecurity attacks and data breaches. More industries than ever before are also suffering from dangerous phishing attacks with around 86% of businesses being targeted by this kind of cyber threat. Phishing is a very simple way of targeting a business – often via a simple email with a link, or image. As a result almost any business that uses simple digital tools including email are at risk.


Cyber-attacks in the UK


A survey of cybersecurity breaches conducted in 2020 demonstrates that 46% of companies report having security breaches in the space of 12 months. The study also acknowledged the role of the Covid-19 pandemic in the rise in cybercrime figures. The study also produced a couple of other striking facts: 


  • Only 83% of businesses updated their anti-virus software
  • 47% of staff use personal devices for work activities, and 18% of those businesses do not have specific security policies for those personal devices.


Therefore the sharp increase of people using personal devices at work during the pandemic have therefore resulted in more access points for hackers. The fact still remains that hackers tend to aim for businesses in some specific industries more than others. Let’s look in more detail at the main industries that are currently most at risk of cyber-attacks.





Cyber-attackers tend to target patient data, and then hold that date in ransomware attacks.  Healthcare providers scan take action to minimise these risks:


Software Updates – Keep OS and antivirus software updated.

Device Training – Making staff aware of security protocols to use on their own devices.

Staff Awareness – Train staff on what to look for in phishing emails and not to click on links. 

Not Installing Unauthorized Software – Educating team members on not installing unknown software programs. 

Regular Backups – Keeping backups can help minimise the damage caused by ransomware attacks.


Small Businesses


Large corporations are often the target of cyber attacks, but they are not the only ones. Even small businesses face this threat. 


Insurance company Hiscox has revealed that small businesses in the UK face 65,000 attempted cyber-attacks every day costing the average small business around £26k a year to fix the damage caused. A loss in data for any size business is one that costs money, time, and public trust in your organisation. 




The UK Government is an obvious target for cybercriminals and holds an array of sensitive information including fingerprints and national insurance numbers. Some government IT Systems have known vulnerabilities, and this has resulted in a larger volume of attacks. 


Commonly this stems from employees who accidentally share information or let malware onto the government networks.


IT & Telecommunications


When a hacker gains access to an IT or telecom provider’s infrastructure, they can intercept information relating to different enterprises that the infrastructure serves. 


Because Telecom and IT companies control essential infrastructure and the foundation for these businesses is digital communications and restructuring, they are an obvious target for hackers. 


Once hackers gain access they can get customer information or begin to intercept calls or even impersonate employees.


Manufacturing & Food



The UK’s manufacturing and food supply chain is moving digitally and likely is becoming highly vulnerable to cyber-attacks.


Cybercriminals like to focus on these sectors because manufacturers in the electronics, automotive, and pharmaceutical industries have valuable intellectual property alongside older IT systems with weaker defenses against attacks.  


The food market today is dominated by technology – customers pay for the food and IT systems reorder the stock. A hacker could compromise an organisation’s food supply chain and cause significant damage to the business.


Legal Industry


Law firms also have a lot of sensitive data on their clients, from private cases to corporate mergers. Like in other professional office based industries COVID-19 led to increased remote working allowing for more cyberattacks. Many businesses in this sector also lack the required policies to keep systems and data secure.


No matter which industry you are in there are a few simple steps you can take to upgrade your protection against cyberattacks. Staff security training, updating your OS, and regular data backups all help. 


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