According to a new report from NTT Security manufacturing was the most attacked sector in the UK last year, with almost half of all cyber crime directed toward the industry.

It also found that the majority of attacks on UK manufacturers came from China, which accounted for 89 per cent of attacks in the sector.

The firm’s Global Threat Intelligence Report 2018 examined 6.1 trillion logs which covered 150 million attacks.

It found that finance was the most targeted sector worldwide, at 26 per cent of attacks, which included ransomware, phishing and other techniques.

The UK’s technology organisations were the second most targeted at 23 per cent, with business and professional services coming in third at 10 per cent.

Only finance featured in the top two attacked sectors for most of the regions and only technology featured in all five regions.

The reason behind the high number of attacks on manufacturing is likely thanks to an increase in industrial organisations adopting advanced technologies in order to stay competitive, says Jon Heimerl, senior manager of NTT Security’s Threat Intelligence Communication Team.

He noted that attacks on manufacturers had three primary targets - stealing intellectual property, disrupting operations and hijacking networks in order to launch attacks on other organisations.

The report also saw a rise in ransomware attacks of 350 per cent from 2016. It highlighted the fact that this type of malware spread faster than had previously been reported, with the WannaCry attack compromising 400,000 machines in 150 countries in one day.

29 per cent of ransomware attacked EMEA systems, compared with 7 per cent worldwide. DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks also featured heavily in the report.

Last month the NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre) had also warned of a rise in attacks targeting supply chains suggesting the sector may continue to be a target.