Cyberattacks a top concern of businesses worldwide, survey finds

Cyberattacks a top concern of businesses worldwide, survey finds
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Nearly nine in 10 businesses worldwide are worried about the threat of cyberattacks, according to a new survey. 

Cyberattacks, followed by data breaches and unplanned IT and telecom outages are the leading causes of concern regarding operations among businesses globally, according to a study from the Business Continuity Institute and British Standards Institute.

Eighty-eight percent of businesses report being concerned or extremely concerned about the threat of cyberattacks, including malware and distributed denial of service attacks. Cyberattacks have topped the list of perceived threats for three straight years in the annual study, which surveyed more than 700 organizations in 79 different countries this year.

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Cyberattacks and intrusions have attracted increased attention in the wake of the election-related hacks of systems used by the Democratic National Committee and former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and massive data breaches disclosed by Yahoo.

By one estimate, cyberattacks cost businesses a total $400 billion annually, a figure that is expected to rise in coming years.

The pair of Yahoo data breaches—which were announced last year within months of one another—resulted in Verizon Communications acquiring the company at a $350 million discount in a revised deal announced Tuesday. 

U.S. government computer systems have also been successful targets of cyber intrusions, including the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) data breach carried out by Chinese hackers that compromised the personal information of more than 20 million Americans. 

Lawmakers and government agencies have given more attention to improving the nation’s cyber defenses in the wake of the OPM hack and the election hacking, which the intelligence community has attributed to Russia.