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Cyber-crime is ‘greatest threat’ to companies survival: EY

Wednesday, 30 Oct 2013 | 9:21 AM ET
John Lund | Blend Images | Getty Images

Companies see cyber-crime as an increasing threat with a third of organizations reporting a rise in attacks in the past year, a study reveals.

Thirty-one percent of firms reported the number of security incidents within their organization had increased by at least 5 percent over the previous 12 months, according to a report by consultancy EY.

But 83 percent of the 1,900 global senior executives surveyed in 64 countries said the security measures available do not meet their needs, a large increase compared with last year's figure of 70 percent.

"Cyber-crime is the greatest threat for organizations' survival today," Ken Allan, EY global information security leader said in a statement.

Major companies have been hit by virtual crime. Sony's PlayStation Network suffered a security breach in 2011 putting the data of 70 million subscribers at risk. Facebook also admitted it was hacked this year in what it called a "sophisticated attack". Adobe announced on Wednesday morning that a security breach this month at the software firm was worse than expected. The company said 38 million people's data had been stolen, compared to the 3 million it originally claimed.

Companies are recognizing the risk posed by cyber-crime as almost half of respondents to EY's Global Information Security Survey 2013, who were either interviewed face-to-face or online, said they were going to increase spending on security, and increase from 39 percent last year.

Despite the threat of hacking, 65 percent of respondents cite budget constraints as the main obstacle to delivering adequate security.

(Read more: Americans willing to spend more to thwart cyber attacks: Survey)

"While budget allocations toward security innovation are inching their way up, enabling organizations to channel more resources toward innovating solutions that can protect them against the great unknown – the future – many information security professionals continue to feel that their budgets are insufficient to address mounting cyber risks.," Allan said.

Half of companies felt a lack of skilled resources was holding back their security, while there has been a 11 percent increase in respondents indicating a lack of executive awareness or support for fighting cyber security.

Organisations must take more "proactive thinking" with "tone-from-the-top support", Paul van Kessel, EY global risk leader said in a statement.

"The pace of technology evolution will only accelerate – as will the cyber risks and by not considering risks until they arise gives cyber attackers the advantage, jeopardizing an organization's survival."

—By CNBC's Arjun Kharpal: Follow him on Twitter @ArjunKharpal

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