Hack attacks on UK businesses have doubled in the past two years, according to research from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
In its Information Security Breaches Survey, unveiled recently, the DTI claimed businesses are more vulnerable now than they were in 2002.
The survey of 1,000 UK businesses found that large firms are attacked at least once a week, with the average company receiving one attack every month.
Stephen Timms, minister of state for e-commerce, described the research as a wake-up call. "The survey is a call to action. The stakes are high," he said.
"This survey shows the scale of the effort businesses need to make. Until now it could be thought that information problems were something that happened to other people."
Despite some businesses taking the problem seriously, under-investment and ignorance remain, according to the survey.
"Security expenditure is increasing, and that is an improvement," said Chris Potter, the PwC partner who carried out the survey.
"But this masks a problem. A quarter of the companies we surveyed are investing more than you would expect. But the majority are not spending enough - not even one per cent of turnover."
There is also a skills gap: only 10 per cent of firms have any staff with formal IT qualifications.
Dan Harris, managing director of reseller Security Partnerships, said: "We find that in the mid- market, companies have IT staff skills to support the core networking infrastructure, but there is a knowledge gap on security.
The channel is important in reducing vulnerabilities."
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