A single distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack can cost a company more than $1.6 million (£1.3 million), according to a report. When Kaspersky Lab and B2B International surveyed firms hit by such attacks in the last year, the average cost to enterprises was found to be more than £1.3 million.

Meanwhile, small businesses hit by DDoS attacks recorded an average cost of $106,000 ($87,000) as a result of factors like downtime and employee overtime payments.

However, the report showed that if a business detects an attack during the first 24 hours, the costs can be halved compared to if it was discovered a day later.

“Our research demonstrates that DDoS attacks are one of the most expensive cyber threats for companies,” said Kaspersky DDoS Protection Team project manager Alexey Kiselev.

“In fact, they are more expensive than a virus or a crypto-malware infection.

“Just one single DDoS attack can disable the online services for long periods of time, damage the company’s reputation and deprive it of its current or future customers.

“There have been incidents where prolonged DDoS attacks have led to the bankruptcy and closure of successful online businesses.”

20 per cent of medium and large companies said their biggest DDoS-related costs were caused by changes to their credit ratings, and 19 per cent their insurance ratings.

17 per cent of small firms said their biggest expense was employee overtime.

DDoS attacks were cited as one of the top five threats that can force companies to hire new staff, with 37 per cent of those who fell victim to attacks planning to significantly increase the number of IT staff on their books as a result.

Other major costs included public relations expenses required to help restore a company’s reputation – a bill that nine per cent of firms had faced.

Ten per cent said they had to pay to upgrade their IT infrastructure and software, ten per cent invested in staff training and 12 per cent paid customer compensation.

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