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UK businesses were deluged with cyber-attacks in 2019, with the average firm hit by over half a million attempts to compromise systems, according to new stats from Beaming.

The Hastings-based business Internet Service Provider (ISP) extrapolated the findings from data on its own corporate customers across the country.

It calculated the average number of attacks aimed at a single business last year was 576,575, around 152% higher than the 281,094 recorded in 2018 and the highest since the ISP began analyzing this kind of data in 2016.

That means UK businesses were forced to repel 66 attacks per hour on average in 2019.

The firm identified 1.8 million unique IP addresses responsible for the attacks last year, just under a fifth (18%) of which were located in China. However, this is more an indication of the sheer number of potentially hijacked machines based in the country rather than the origin of the attackers.

There was a fairly big drop to second placed Brazil (7%), which was followed by Taiwan (6%) and Russia (5%) in terms of originating IP addresses for attacks.

Attackers most commonly targeted network device admin tools and IoT endpoints like connected security cameras and building control systems, according to Beaming. These suffered 92,448 attacks in total last year, while 35,807 were targeted at file sharing applications.

Beaming managing director, Sonia Blizzard, described 2019 as the “worst year on record” for cyber-attacks against UK firms, claiming that most were “completely indiscriminate.”

“Most business leaders, particularly at the smaller end of the spectrum, still don’t recognize the threat or incorrectly assume that their broadband router and antivirus systems will be sufficient to keep them safe,” she continued.

“With the number of companies falling victim to cybercrime increasing each year, it is clear that most need to do more to protect themselves. We advise businesses to put in place multiple layers of protection, use methods such as two-factor authentication, and to secure their data while it travels over the internet.”

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