Almost two-thirds of UK organisations say targeted attacks against them were cases of financial fraud.

A survey of 2,618 global C-level executives and IT security administrators, including 554 from the UK, found that 63 per cent of UK respondents reported financial fraud as the cyber criminal's primary motivation, followed by extraction of customer data (48 per cent) and intellectual property theft (46 per cent).

It also found that UK companies reported an average of 68 new security attack attempts per week (compared with 79 per week in the US, and 82 per week in Germany), with a single successful targeted attack costing a business an average of £144,375.

Tomer Teller, security evangelist and researcher at Check Point Software Technologies, said: “For the most part, the goal of attackers is to obtain valuable information. These days, credit card data shares space on the shelves of virtual hacking stores with items such as employee records and Facebook or email log-ins, as well as zero-day exploits that can be stolen and sold on the black market for anywhere from $10,000 to $500,000.

“Unfortunately, the rate of cyber crime seems to be climbing as businesses experience a surge in Web 2.0 use and mobile computing in corporate environments – giving hackers more channels of communication and vulnerable entry points into the network.”

The report claimed that approximately 76 per cent of companies say they have training and awareness programmes in place to prevent targeted attacks.

Dr. Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute and co-author of the research, said: “While the types of threats and level of concern companies have may vary across regions, the good news is that security awareness is rising. Across the board, C-level executives reported high levels of concern about targeted attacks and planned to implement security precautions, technology and training to mitigate the risk of targeted attacks.”