Cyberattacks against UK businesses increasing – report

It finds that current cyber insurance policies have flaws, resulting in inadequate cover for policyholders

Cyberattacks against UK businesses increasing – report


By Lyle Adriano

Mactavish has released its latest report on the current state of the cyber insurance market, which found that there was a “dramatic” increase in the number of cyberattacks in the past year.

To prepare the report, the claims resolution firm surveyed 218 business owners and business managers on the cyber threats they faced, as well as their cyber insurance.

According to the report, 21% of businesses surveyed said that they have suffered a cyber related loss in the last three years – of those businesses, 69% said the impact of the attacks they sustained was “significant” or “very significant”. Mactavish’s report also found that just over two thirds (69%) of the businesses said that the cyber related loss occurred in the past 12 months.

The report also suggested that the pandemic – which forced many businesses to take their operations online – may have helped exacerbate the cyberattack problem. Some 41% of businesses surveyed indicated that since the COVID-19 crisis started, the level of potential cyberattacks they are facing has increased.

Mactavish also offered a breakdown of which types of cyberattacks the interviewed businesses sustained over the past three years:

Cyber-related attacks

Percentage of businesses interviewed who say they have experienced this type of attack over the past three years

Email-based scams




Data theft


Insider attacks




Mactavish has warned that some specialist cyber insurance policies have “flaws,” and thus will not necessarily provide adequate cover to businesses. Research conducted in late 2019 identified eight key weaknesses in many cyber insurance policies, such as cover being limited to events triggered by attacks or unauthorised activity, while excluding cover for losses caused by accidental errors or omissions. Another flaw identified by the firm is that several policies provide limited cover for data breach costs.

“Our research findings are very alarming as they show that cyberattacks are a very real and growing threat facing businesses. The impact of these can be very significant, making it all the more important that employers have adequate insurance cover against these,” said Mactavish CEO Bruce Hepburn.

Hepburn added that Mactavish had found that many cyber policies produced by the end of 2019 had major flaws that “seriously undermined the cover they offered.”

“This an area that firms should think very carefully about – an off the shelf product simply may not deliver the protection they are seeking,” the CEO stated.

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