Tens of thousands of online businesses in the UK who handle credit card details have no internet security measures, new research reveals

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  • 20% of e-commerce websites aren’t aware of what security measures are in place
    10% have taken no website security precautions
    50% don’t have a plan in place if they were hacked
    123 Reg urge small business owners to consider their website security

A survey by 123 Reg, the UK’s largest website provider, has found that 10% of e-commerce websites have taken no precautions to keep their customers data safe from hackers.

The poll, which surveyed 13,000 small business owners, found that one in five e-commerce websites don’t know who handles their website security, with 50% stating that they are not prepared for an attack and had no recovery plan if one took place.

A security breach can undo years of hard work in a matter of minutes and lead to loss of revenue and the end of a business. According to research by PwC, there were 59.1 million detected security incidents in 2015.

Our research revealed that 8% of UK e-commerce websites admitted to being hacked – equivalent to tens of thousands of e-commerce websites[1], with almost one in ten saying they didn’t know whether they had been hacked or not.

As goods are increasingly purchased online it is more important than ever to protect sensitive credit card data. Last year it was estimated by Get Safe Online and Action Fraud that over £1 billion was lost by British businesses to online crime[2].

Website security is a complex issue, taking in plenty of factors – that includes the kind of website you have, the passwords you use, and, of course, the reliability of your web site host.

However, being secure is simple and straightforward.

123 Reg calls on all website developers to employ good password practices, install a website security product and keep all software up to date and has put together a free guide here.

Nick Leech, Digital Director at 123 Reg said:
“Having an online presence is vital for small businesses, in 2015 e-commerce sales in the UK reached £533 billion, but keeping customers safe requires a team effort. Businesses can easily implement simple, yet crucial, security measures, which can help keep them safe against online attacks. By continuously updating online programmes, regularly changing passwords and installing the latest security products, Britain’s small business owners can stay secure and continue to thrive.”

Tom Serani, Executive Vice President, Business Development at Sitelock said:
“We are seeing an exponential growth in cyber security threats, coinciding with the increased digitisation of businesses. Worryingly, hacker attacks are getting more sophisticated, especially those targeting SMEs, which are generally perceived to be less secure. It is therefore vital that online businesses take the necessary steps to protect themselves from any attack.”

Notes to editor

About the research
The survey targeted 13,831 small business owners between February and March 2017.

Overall survey findings:

13% have no security measures in place.
26% answered ‘I am not sure’ when asked who they think handles their website security.
66% do not have a response plan in place, if/ when a hack or breach occurs.
30% use SLL Certificates.
73% use anti-virus software on PC(s).
9% have been hacked.
13% answered ‘I don’t know’ when asked ‘Has your website ever been hacked?’
43% believe their hosting provider handles their security.

E-commerce findings (1,299 respondents who defined their websites as to sell products / services directly to customers, including bookings or reservations, through online payment):
10% have no security measures in place.
17% answered ‘I am not sure’ when asked who they think handles their website security.
53% do not have a response plan in place, if/ when a hack or breach occurs.
50% use SLL Certificates.
75% use anti-virus software on PC(s).
8% have been hacked.
9% answered ‘I don’t know’ when asked ‘Has your website ever been hacked?’
53% have no response plan in place if/ when a website hack or breach occurs.
44% believe their hosting provider handles their security.

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