The annual cost of cyber-attacks on UK small businesses is £4.5 billion, according to research conducted by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
One in five small businesses suffered a cyber-attack between January 2017 and January 2019, the FSB found. In total, over seven million attacks took place over the two-year period, at an average of almost 10,000 a day.
The average cost of an attack on a small business is £1,300, with the combined cost totalling £4.5 billion.
Commenting on the research, Martin McTague, Policy and Advocacy Chairman at the FSB, said: 'These findings demonstrate the sheer scale of the dangers faced by small firms every day in the digital arena.
'The issue of business crime is overlooked too often – even more so of late in this climate of sustained political uncertainty and inaction. Meaningful steps must be taken to safeguard our small firms, and by extension the wider economy. More small firms are waking up to the threat of cybercrime. It's a threat that's evolving rapidly, but too many small businesses still lack access to the resources and budgets needed to contain it.'
Phishing attempts are the most frequent type of attack, followed by malware, fraudulent payment requests and ransomware. Despite the frequency of attacks, over a third of small firms have not yet installed security software, and almost half do not regularly update software.