UK IT Leaders Doubt Government’s Cyberwarfare Defence Capabilities in Key Election Year

15 May 2024
Knowledge Base

New research from Armis, the asset intelligence cybersecurity company, shows over half (52%) of UK IT leaders believe the government can’t defend its citizens and enterprises against an act of cyberwarfare. This lack of faith in the government is higher than anywhere else surveyed in Europe, including Germany (40%) and France (42%). This is a significant change in sentiment compared to a year ago, when 77% of UK IT leaders had confidence in the UK government.

Ahead of a pivotal election year, 37% of UK IT leaders also believe cyberwar can impact the integrity of an electoral process – this spikes significantly when speaking to respondents from the government sector (60%), the medical, healthcare and pharmaceutical industry (67%) and financial services (71%). In addition, 45% also say cyberwar can result in cyberattacks on the media, outpacing concerns of respondents from the U.S., France and Germany.

“The IT industry’s overwhelming sentiment that the government will be unable to keep citizens safe and the country secure underscores a critical shortfall in defensive measures to date,” said David Critchley, Regional Director, UK & Ireland, Armis. “In this pivotal election year, it’s imperative for the government and organisations to proactively rebuild national confidence by enhancing defensive cybersecurity strategies, coming together where they can to maximise forward strides. A robust investment in cybersecurity, coupled with the deployment of AI-driven tech, is our best chance to shield society from the threat of cyberwarfare.”

The research surveyed over 2,600 global security and IT decision-makers and included proprietary data from Amis Labs. Additional findings from UK respondents in The 2024 Armis Cyberwarfare Report, The Invisible Front Line: AI-Powered Cyber Threats Illuminate the Dark Side, include:

  • Cyberwarfare knows no borders: UK organisations are in the crosshairs of global adversaries
    • 46% of those surveyed in the UK say geopolitical tensions with China and Russia have created a greater threat of cyberwarfare.
    • 45% percent of IT leaders say Russia poses a greater threat to global security than China.
    • Half of businesses (50%) also believe that North Korea’s cyber capabilities have the potential to instigate a full-scale cyberwar that could cripple critical infrastructure worldwide.
  • Unprepared IT leaders face cyberwarfare threat solo amid mounting pressure 
    • 43% of UK organisations reveal their company has experienced 1-2 cybersecurity breaches.
    • When asked if IT leaders experienced more threat activity on their organisation’s network in the past six months, 54% noted it stayed the same, while 18% saw an increase.
      • This rises dramatically to 37% for utilities organisations seeing an increase in attacks and 42% for those in medical, healthcare and pharmaceutical.
    • Despite 56% of UK IT leaders stating they are concerned about the threat of cyberwarfare, only 27% of IT leaders say they have a plan in place to handle cyberwarfare and that it is not validated. Nineteen percent of IT leaders are uncertain employees know who to speak to if they notice suspicious cyber activity.
  • UK businesses halt innovation amid cyber threats despite rising hacker sophistication
    • Armis Lab researchers have confirmed several threat actors from countries including Russia, China, North Korea and Iran are using AI for advanced cyber capabilities.
    • Despite this, nearly two-thirds (64%) of IT leaders claim digital transformation projects have been paused or pulled owing to the threat of cyberwarfare. Given about £27 billion is spent every year on digital transformation in the UK, the impact is colossal.
    • One-fifth (21%) of UK organisations also say their company has not allocated sufficient budget for cybersecurity programs, people and processes.

“Make no mistake – we are in a cyber arms race against our adversaries and society as we know it is at risk,” said Nadir Izrael, CTO and Co-Founder, Armis. “Relying on legacy technologies and manual security processes is the equivalent of bringing a knife to a gunfight, given the threats we’re up against and the arsenal of nation-state actors. It is critical that security leaders fight fire with fire, leveraging AI-powered solutions that empower them with actionable intelligence before a vulnerability is announced, before an attack is launched and before their organisation is impacted. Forewarned is forearmed.”

Armis Centrix™ for Actionable Threat Intelligence is an early warning, AI-based system that leverages dark web, dynamic honeypots and human intelligence (HUMINT) to anticipate threats, understand their potential impact and take preemptive action to neutralise them, effectively moving the security posture from defense to offense. Learn more here:

To read the full report from Armis, including a comprehensive breakdown of the findings for each region of respondents, please visit:

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