Cyber criminals target suppliers to hit big firms

HACKERS are increasingly accessing the computer systems of large corporations by targeting their much smaller suppliers, insurer Allianz will claim today.

Large businesses have spent billions beefing up their security systems. But while this has rebuffed some computer criminals, hackers have responded by attacking small firms that supply the same firms.

“Many cyber criminals are now hacking into systems of SME firms as a way of ‘piggy-backing’ access to larger companies they partner with,” warned Allianz’s Nigel Pearson.

As a result, companies employing fewer than 250 employees are now almost twice as likely to be the subject of a targeted computer attack compared to 2011. By contrast, large organisations employing over 2,500 people have seen no increase in attacks over the same period.

European insurers consider cyber security to be a major growth area for their products, with companies facing substantial fines if they do not secure customer data – or long-term financial damage if a cyber-attack damages their reputations.