Is Your Industry Vulnerable to Cyber Attack?

Written by Contributor

Is your UK business at risk of a cyber-attack? Even if you’ve never suffered a data breach or encountered a cyber security issue, your company is still vulnerable. Especially now, after the 2020 pandemic, businesses of all sizes are suffering from cybercrime. Official statistics released by the UK government in The Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2021 show that two in five UK companies had a cyber-attack last year. With numbers this high, your business can easily be a target for cyber criminals.

Is Cyber Crime a Problem for UK Businesses?

Cybercrime is widespread across all industries. The aforementioned cyber security survey shed light on how serious the situation is:

  • Less than a quarter of all businesses have a cyber security policy related to home working

  • 17% of businesses do not have up-to-date antivirus software

  • 47% of businesses surveyed allow staff to use personal devices for work, but only 18% have a cyber security policy on using personal devices for work

  • The three most common reasons for data breaches in 2020 were phishing emails, outsiders impersonating a member of an organisation online, and viruses or other malware 

    If the above statistics don’t convince you that your business is at risk, then consider the £183.8m fine British Airways had to pay after login details and payment information was leaked for 380,000 customers. Your business may not be as big as British Airways, but even small businesses face serious financial impacts because of data breaches. The survey report also noted that it costs small businesses £8,460 when they lose data or assets from a data breach. The cost goes up to £13,400 for medium and large businesses. 

Which Industries Have the Greatest Cyber Crime Risk?

Although cybercrime threatens every business, five industries are acutely affected. These industries include:

  1. Healthcare

  2. IT & Telecommunications

  3. Legal

  4. HR & Recruitment

  5. Manufacturing & Utilities 

What is it about these industries that makes them so vulnerable to cyber security risks? 


Hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities often rely on outdated technology because they don’t want to disrupt patient care. Unfortunately, these older systems don’t have proper cyber security measures to combat attacks from cyber criminals, leaving patient records exposed. Criminals value information such as patient names, dates of birth, and addresses because they can sell it online. For this reason, the healthcare industry attracts a high number of hackers and malicious cyber actors. 

IT & Telecommunications

Telecom businesses collect a large amount of sensitive data on their customers – data that hackers would love to get their hands on. These companies are a gateway to other businesses as well, allowing criminals to intercept calls or impersonate service subscribers. IT and telecom companies are also responsible for operating critical infrastructure that businesses, governments, and individuals use to communicate. When these networks get knocked out, it can create major disruption. The telecommunications sector is also a target for state-sponsored cyber-attacks for this reason. 


Law firms and attorney’s offices hold a great deal of sensitive data about their clients, particularly concerning divorces, custody cases, personal injury matters, corporate mergers and acquisitions, or intellectual property. Not only must lawyers retain this information, but they must also exchange it securely with their clients and law firms. The 2020 pandemic exacerbated this problem, as many law firms had to become remote, and didn’t have the capacity for secure information exchange over the web. As a result, they’ve become a big target for hackers as well. 

HR & Recruitment

HR and recruitment are another industry that deals with copious amounts of personally identifiable data, such as names, addresses, and even bank information. Hackers go after this information to use it for fraudulent purposes, but they also target HR because it’s an ideal access point for breaching the rest of the company. They use employee data to launch phishing attacks, making fake emails seem like they’re sent from within the business. Recruitment agencies are also targets for cybercrime because they have detailed databases full of job candidates containing things like passport scans and visa details. These databases are also valuable intellectual property. 

Manufacturing & Utilities

The manufacturing and utilities industry encompasses several types of businesses, including automotive, pharmaceutical, and electronics. Surprisingly, much of the manufacturing industry is resistant to using newer processes and technologies and operates with outdated systems. They tend to use highly specific software packages that are more difficult to secure, and therefore easier to attack. Without upgrading to more recent systems, the manufacturing and utilities industry leaves itself open to cyber criminals. 

Securing Your Business

If you operate in one of these five at-risk sectors, you’ll have to take extra cyber security precautions. And if you aren’t in healthcare, telecommunications, legal, HR, or manufacturing, your business should still prioritise your cyber defenses. You don’t want to suffer a cyber-attack after it’s too late.

Look at our infographic to find out more about the five industries most vulnerable to a cyber-attack. 

© 2021 – 2022, Contributor. All rights reserved.

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