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UK SMEs are sitting ducks for crackers

Don't get fooled again

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More than one million UK businesses are vulnerable to hacker (or more properly cracker) attacks.

according to a study by Microsoft, 65 per cent of small and medium-sized businesses in the UK have no form of intrusion detection system, while more than 15 do not even a basic firewall.

"This lack of basic protection leaves over 1,000,000 UK businesses vulnerable to malicious attacks from hackers and susceptible to the crippling effects of computer viruses," Microsoft (which, let's face it, knows a thing or two about such matters) warns.

The software giant's basic message is that businesses should need to avoid being fooled on April 1 by making sure their IT systems are secure.

"April Fools day is a notorious time for hoax email viruses to be circulated so it is a good day for businesses to take stock of their security policies and technology. But the threat posed by a genuine virus or a hacker to SMEs is not a joke -it is all too real. Businesses need to be aware that there are simple steps and simple precautions that they can take to deter security breaches and avoid being fooled in the future," said Mike Pryke-Smith, Medium Business Marketing Manager at Microsoft.

To support his argument Pryke-Smith cites an estimate by consultants Pricewaterhousecoopers that the average security incident costs £30,000 to repair.

Microsoft repeats the oft-heard advice that businesses need to review their security policies. A free security toolkit from Microsoft can help in this, the company notes.

"The toolkit allows businesses to perform systems checks for vulnerabilities, to make sure they have the correct updates and contains resources to identify areas of security that could be strengthened," it adds.

To order the free toolkit, sign up for the Microsoft Security Bulletin and have access to other online resources, businesses are advised to visit microsoft.com/uk/security. ®

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