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Hackers will take down big firm next year, experts predict

By Ben Woods

A cyber attack will topple a major company next year as firms face a growing threat to their security systems from hackers, according to an influential business lobby group.

James Sproule, chief economist at the Institute of Directors, said companies should brace themselves for more rogue attacks following a spate of incidents this year.

He claimed the rise would be so large that businesses would no longer be able to keep their security breaches a secret, as many have done so in the past.

"A significant cyber attack will bring down a company," Mr Sproule said.

"Our Policy Voice survey last year revealed that most businesses that have fallen victim to cyber attacks do not report it to any authority. Little information is generally published about any attack, and so far those companies that have suffered have generally managed to quietly contain the damage.

"Such a tactic may be a tempting course for an individual company, but the pace of increase in cyber attacks means more such attacks will become apparent."

A number of companies came under fire this year after a series of security breaches left consumers out of pocket and put their personal details at risk.

Tesco Bank fell victim to a cyber attack in November, which resulted in it paying out an estimated £2.5m to approximately 9,000 customers.

The hack prompted a freeze in online transactions for customers, and the crime was described as "unprecedented" by Financial Conduct Authority chief executive Andrew Bailey.

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