Cyberattacks cost big UK business $1.9m despite fall

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The cost of a cybersecurity breach to a big U.K. business is getting higher and higher, with costs hitting £1.15 million ($1.9 million) in the last 12 months, a new study shows -- despite the frequency of attacks falling.

Over 81 percent of large companies, those with 250 employers or more, suffered a system security breach in the past year down from 86 percent the year before, according to PwC. Three in five Small businesses with 50 employees reported a breach in the same period, down from 64 percent the year before.

Despite the fall in cyberattacks, companies are paying a higher price for the breaches with the cost to a big British firm rising to between £600,000 and £1.15 million from just £450,000 to £850,000 a year before. On average, a small company will take a hit of between £65,000 and £115,000.

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A series of high-profile breaches at major companies such as Target in the U.S. has put cybersecurity in the spotlight with many firms accused of not committing enough of their resources to protect their business from hackers.

Trying to clean a breach up has become an expensive process due to the fact the attacks are more complex. The complexity of dealing with them has risen," Andrew Miller, cyber security director at PwC, told CNBC in a phone interview.

Companies are not expecting the risks to subside either with 59 percent of firms suggesting there will be more security incidents in the next year than last.

The attacks are varying with nearly three in four companies saying they suffered from infection by viruses or malicious software in the past year, up from 59 percent a year ago.

"These results show that British companies are still under cyber attack. Increasingly those that can manage cyber security risks have a clear competitive advantage, the U.K.'s Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said in a press release.