UK firms experienced 668k cyberattacks each in 2021

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Cyber Reports

2021 Cyber Threat Analysis

  • The rate of commercial cyberattacks fell by three percent last year but remains historically high
  • Connected UK companies experience a new cyberattack every 47 seconds during 2021
  • Analysis indicates cybercriminals see remote working as an opportunity to hack data and IT systems

UK businesses were subjected to 667,597 different cyberattacks during 2021, experiencing a new attempt to breach their systems online every 47 seconds, according to new data published by Beaming, a specialist business ISP.

Although the total volume of attacks was three percent lower than in 2020, the rate of attacks on UK businesses online remains historically high. Cyberattacks increased by 11 percent when the UK moved to lockdown and widespread home working in 2020 and have remained in excess of 1,750 attacks per day since then.

Beaming’s analysis of commercial internet traffic shows that UK businesses received 165,933 attempts to breach their systems online in the final three months of 2021, the equivalent of 1,804 a day. The rate of attack climbed steadily between September and December 2021.

Cyberattacks on UK businesses - January 2021

Beaming identified attacks on businesses from 257,435 IP addresses during the fourth quarter of 2021. It traced almost half (49 percent) to locations in China. The USA (25 percent), India (13 percent), Brazil (10 percent) and Russia (10 percent) also played host to significant proportions of attacking IP addresses.

Remotely controlled devices continued to be the most frequently targeted application by hackers, attracting nine percent of all attack activity. These includes network device administration which is often unsecured by default and a common route into target organisations.

Attacking IP addresses by origin - January 2021

‘“Attack patterns over the last two years suggest cybercriminals see remote working as a significant opportunity to access company data and IT systems via employees’ unmanaged domestic internet connections. Attacks increase when people are asked to work from home.’
Sonia Blizzard, Managing Director, Beaming

Sonia Blizzard, managing director of Beaming, said: “Cyberattacks fell very slightly in 2021, but remain at historically high levels. UK businesses with internet connections encountered new cyberattacks every 47 seconds last year. There is no room for complacency.”

“Attack patterns over the last two years suggest cybercriminals see remote working as a significant opportunity to access company data and IT systems via employees’ unmanaged domestic internet connections. Attacks increase when people are asked to work from home.

“ISPs like Beaming can help businesses reduce the enhanced risk of exposure associated with home and hybrid working. Organisations also need to ensure they are building resilience through training, technology and documented cybersecurity policies.”

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