Belfast Telegraph

Cyber attack will topple major company next year, business lobby group warns

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

James Sproule, chief economist at the Institute of Directors (IOD), said companies should be braced for more rogue attacks and state-sponsored assaults following a spate of incidents this year.

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

"A s ignificant cyber attack will bring down a company," Mr Sproule added.

" Our Policy Voice survey last year revealed that most businesses that have fallen victim to cyber attack 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."

Companies came under fire from a string of online security breaches in 2016 which 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 £2.5 million to 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.

In September, internet giant Yahoo suffered a data breach, which affected eight million user accounts in the UK and compromised around 500 million accounts globally.