Two-thirds of small businesses have been victims of cyber crime since 2014

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Two-thirds of the UK's small businesses have fallen victim to cyber crime in the last two years, a new report has revealed.

According to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), those affected have been victims an average of four times during this period.

Figures also showed that a typical attack costs smaller businesses a total of nearly £3,000, while in total, this problem is costing the UK economy an estimated £5.26 billion.

The FSB is particularly concerned because it believes small businesses are being disproportionately affected, when compared with their larger counterparts.

Mike Cherry, national chairman of the FSB, commented: "Small firms take their cyber security responsibility very seriously but often they are the least able to bear the cost of doing so. 

"Smaller businesses have limited resources, time and expertise to deal with ever-evolving and increasing digital attacks."

Mr Cherry has therefore called on the government, larger businesses, individuals and providers to work together to tackle cyber crime and improve business resilience.

"The digital economy is vital to small businesses - presenting a huge opportunity to reach new markets and customers - but these benefits are matched by the risk of opportunities for criminals to attack businesses," he added.

The FSB pointed out that 99 per cent of small businesses rate the internet as being crucial to their businesses, as many offer or intend to offer goods and services online.

Many small businesses were found to be taking positive steps to tackle these threats. Indeed, figures showed that 80 per cent use computer securing software to combat cyber attacks, while 53 per cent perform regular updates of their IT systems.

Nevertheless, just one in four were found to have a strict password policy, while only four per cent have written guidance in place outlining what to do if they are attacked online.