More than 80 percent of firms say they've been hacked in new CFO survey

June 8, 2015 by Erin Medlyn, Duke University
Credit: George Hodan/Public Domain

As investigators look into the massive data breach at the federal Office of Personnel Management, most chief financial officers around the world say their companies also have been hacked, new research finds. The problem is worse at small and medium-size firms because they dedicate fewer resources to preventing data breaches.

These are some of the findings from the latest Duke University/CFO Magazine Global Business Outlook Survey, which ended today.

More than 80 percent of U.S. companies indicate their systems have been successfully hacked in an attempt to steal, change or make public important data. The hacks have been much more successful at smaller : 85 percent of firms with fewer than 1,000 employees indicate their systems have been successfully penetrated, compared to about 60 percent of larger companies. More than 85 percent of firms in Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin American say they also have been hacked.

"Corporate America is an easy mark for hackers as we are repeatedly reminded in the news," said John Graham, director of the and a professor at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business. "However, it is not just big firms like Target that are being hit – 85 percent of smaller firms are also under siege. No one appears safe. The situation may even be worse than reported because many firms might not even realize that they have been attacked."

The success rate of hacking small and medium-sized firms is a direct result of fewer resources being dedicated to data security at these firms, Graham said. Results show small firms are only about half as likely as large firms to attempt a "friendly hack" into their own systems, to hire new data security staff or to require training for employees.

The Duke University/CFO Magazine Global Business Outlook Survey has been conducted for 77 consecutive quarters and spans the globe, making it the world's longest-running and most comprehensive research on senior finance executives.

Additional results from the survey are being analyzed and will be released next week.

Explore further: US tech firms losing business over PRISM: poll

Related Stories

US tech firms losing business over PRISM: poll

July 24, 2013

Revelations about the US government's vast data collection programs have already started hurting American technology firms, according to an industry survey released this week.

Chinese spy team hacks Forbes.com: security firms

February 10, 2015

US cyber security firms on Tuesday said that a Chinese espionage team hacked Forbes magazine to hunt defense contractors, financial firms, and other unsuspecting prey visiting the popular news website.

Recommended for you

Technology near for real-time TV political fact checks

January 18, 2019

A Duke University team expects to have a product available for election year that will allow television networks to offer real-time fact checks onscreen when a politician makes a questionable claim during a speech or debate.

Privacy becomes a selling point at tech show

January 7, 2019

Apple is not among the exhibitors at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show, but that didn't prevent the iPhone maker from sending a message to attendees on a large billboard.

China's Huawei unveils chip for global big data market

January 7, 2019

Huawei Technologies Ltd. showed off a new processor chip for data centers and cloud computing Monday, expanding into new and growing markets despite Western warnings the company might be a security risk.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.