Ofcom faces 30,000 cyber attacks a week, new data reveals

Published on 29 August 2023

NCSC warn that UK infrastructure and businesses face heightened threat of cyber attacks

Ofcom faces 30,000 attempted cyber attacks every week1, reveal new figures compiled by international law firm RPC.

The data suggests this would amount to 1.6 million attempts over the course of a year2, according to a Freedom of Information request submitted to the UK's communications regulator.

As well as attempted cyber attacks, Ofcom – which is responsible for the regulation of broadcasting, telecoms and postal services – has, on average, faced 80 attempted malware incidents and 4,000 attempted phishing emails every week.

Richard Breavington, Partner and Head of Cyber and Tech Insurance at RPC, warns that these astronomic numbers demonstrate the automated nature of much of the modern hacking threat. 

A key tactic employed by hackers is to run scripts that concurrently stage thousands of attacks across multiple targets until they find a weak point.

The UK's public infrastructure has at times fallen prey to cyber attacks, including a recent cyber attack on the Electoral Commission, which exposed the personal data of 40 million voters.

According to the NCSC (National Cyber Security Council), there has been a specific rise in the number of cyber attacks over the last 18 months, which is linked to escalating geopolitical tensions.

There are concerns these could result in more major attacks targeting infrastructure, as cybercriminals look to cause maximum disruption.

In addition to public infrastructure, hackers have also been targeting the UK financial services sector.

Richard Breavington comments: “The challenge of cyber attacks is as great as ever.  While some attacks, particularly those on high profile infrastructure, might be specifically targeted, there are also automated attempts being made incessantly, looking to find organisations with vulnerabilities that can be exposed.

“It’s important for organisations in both the public and private sector to have rigorous cyber defences in place to protect not only from targeted attacks, but also the day-to-day barrage of indiscriminate attempts to gain entry to systems."


1Data from Ofcom, as of June 30 2023

2Based on a multiplication of the weekly average

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