CYBER crime is posing a growing threat for businesses and households. It is vital that we are all prepared to meet this threat.

As an ever increasing number of people and organisations make ever greater use of the internet, the potential impact of cyber-theft, cyber-vandalism and even cyber-extortion is exploding.

It is a daunting thought that there are now about 27 billion devices connected to the internet – well over three times the human population of the world – and that this figure is expected to reach 125 billion within 13 years.

Research by Accenture showed that 55 per cent of British workers can’t recall receiving cyber security training, whilst one in five weren’t sure they could identify a phishing email – a common method used by cyber criminals to raid personal bank accounts.

To give a sense of the scale of the cyber-crime problem, BT’s security team detects 100,000 unique malware samples every day – more than one per second – and protects the BT network against more than 4,000 cyber-attacks daily.

BT also has hundreds of analysts, many of them teenagers and reformed hackers or “ethical hackers”, to help against the threat of cyber-crime.

Companies need to have robust cyber security strategy and policies which are kept under review and continuously put to the test.

At BT we regularly run sessions pitching so-called ‘red teams’ of ethical hackers trying to penetrate our defences against the ‘blue teams’ protecting the network.

  • Mark Hughes is chief executive of BT Security