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Exeter data centre owners South West Communications Group has warned businesses to protect themselves from cyber threats before it is too late.
Comments made in a rare speech by MI5's Director General Jonathan Evans have coincided with a similar warning issued by South West Communications Group to its customers.
In his speech, Mr Evans revealed MI5 was investigating "cyber compromises" in more than a dozen companies and that one major London business has suffered £800 million in losses following an attack.
He said: "The Internet has developed from a communication network to what is called the "Internet of things" - connecting via the Internet the buildings we work in, the cars we drive, our traffic management systems, bank ATMs, our industrial control systems and much more.
"This increases the potential for mischief and leads to risks of real world damage as well as information loss."
South West Communications Group has alerted its customers to these threats from the Internet and has offered them security packages to try to combat the serious damage posed by these threats.
John Holdstock, South West Communications Group's IT director, said: "These days it is not enough to make sure your doors are locked and your alarm is switched on. Serious threats to a business's security and productivity are constantly lurking on the Internet and could be more financially damaging than a burglary.
"Threats that lie in wait attached to or embedded in an email or behind the seemingly innocent facade of a website have become more and more common. These threats could not only destroy a company's network in an instant, but could also infect the recipient's PC and those of everyone in their address book, including their colleagues and clients."
As a company that receive 3,400 emails every day, South West Communications Group advises its customers to invest in anti-spam, anti-virus, website content filtering and endpoint protection to thwart cyber threats.
Mr Holdstock added: "We rely on email and the Internet to carry out the everyday tasks that serve our extensive client list. We could not possibly entertain the thought of our network being compromised in any way and we believe our customers feel the same way."
For more information on how to protect yourself from cyber threats, please call South West Communications Group on 01392 369369.