CORK, IRELAND – May 22, 2019 – SolarWinds (NYSE:SWI), a leading provider of powerful and affordable IT management software, today released the findings of its latest Freedom of Information (FOI) request investigating cybersecurity challenges and preparations in U.K. public sector organisations. While over a third (38 percent) of respondents claimed to have experienced no cyberattacks in 2018, compared to 30 percent who said the same for 2017, there was also an increase in the number of organisations reporting in excess of 1,000 cyberattacks. Eighteen percent of respondents said this was the case in 2018, up from 14 percent in 2017, despite the Minimum Cyber Security Standard being published in June 2018, a guideline that 98 percent of respondents were aware of.
Among respondents who shared the types of attacks their organisation had experienced, the most common were phishing (95 percent) and malware (86 percent), with a large step down to third place, ransomware (54 percent). Malicious targeted attacks either from an insider or from a foreign government were the least common type of attack experienced, with just three percent of respondents affected. This may explain why the most common defences in place were firewalls (98 percent), antivirus software (98 percent), and malware protection (96 percent). However, other critical parts of cybersecurity infrastructure were less pervasive. Under three-quarters of respondents used log management (73 percent) or network traffic analysis (74 percent), both tools which can be useful for monitoring unexpected activity that could be a sign of a cybersecurity weakness.
“While preparation is generally high throughout the public sector, the growth in large numbers of attacks shows that there is still significant risk,” said Sascha Giese, Head Geek™, SolarWinds. “These results highlight the importance of finding simple-to-use, affordable, and scalable security solutions that can work across the varied IT environments like those in the NHS and central government, to ensure the most comprehensive protection available for these vital services.”
Finally, when asked what the biggest roadblocks to maintaining and improving cybersecurity were, the most-cited issues were competing priorities (71 percent), budget constraints (67 percent), and a lack of manpower (59 percent).
In total, 28 central government organisations, 164 NHS trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), and the MOD responded to the Freedom of Information request. All percentages are based on the number of respondents per question who provided input, rather than the whole sample, as some organisations did not provide answers for every question.
While cyberattacks became less widespread in 2018, more organisations experienced over 1,000 attacks than in the previous year.
The majority of attacks experienced echoed consumer trends focused on phishing and malware, and protection predominantly consisted of firewalls, antivirus, and malware protection.
Limiting factors for cybersecurity maintenance and improvement were centred around resources and meeting competing priorities.
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