Unless you’ve renounced the media over the last few weeks, it will have been hard to miss the rapid flow of cyber attacks hitting the headlines.

Journalists have become fluent in cyber jargon during their reporting on how WanaCry, Petya, GoldenEye and NotPetya have shutdown operations for organisations around the globe, including the NHS, FedEx and Renault.

The news agenda seems to suggest that cyber attacks are becoming more prevalent. Could this be true?

The UK government certainly seems to think so. According to the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, “The cyber-attacks we are seeing are increasing in their frequency, their severity, and their sophistication.” And his actions match his words – the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) had already responded to 188 attacks in its first three months of opening.

The government’s words echo industry statistics from organisations such as Lloyds of London, which found that a staggering nine in ten businesses have already been breached by cyber attackers. Large or small, public or private, it seems the hackers will take what they can get.

So how can organisations protect themselves? Having a security policy, written in clear English, is a great starting point. Make it a part of staff inductions so new team members understand its importance.

Also consider running routine sessions on spotting and responding to cyber threats at regular intervals. Phishing attacks are on the increase and can be tough to spot in a fast paced environment so knowing what to look for can give organisations the upper hand.

For those in charge of security, it will also be interesting to see how the NCSC begins to protect national organisations like the NHS, and if businesses can follow suit.

But most importantly, don’t write off the hacking headlines – make sure your business has a plan in place to identify and immobilise the hackers when they arrive. Detection is as important as prevention, so make sure your defences are up to scratch so you can spot any intruders in your network – before you spot them in the papers.

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