Demand for security experts is increasing as Hong Kong businesses find themselves at growing risk of cyberattacks, recruitment firm Hays said this week. "Large to medium-sized enterprises are experiencing a growing number of cyberattacks that can potentially impact their growth and image," Hays Asia managing director Christine Wright said. "To counter these attacks, many companies are looking to upgrade their web applications and improve their web security." That had led to an increase in demand for software developers and web security experts, Hays said in a recent report. In 2012, the Hong Kong government created a HK$9 million Cyber Security Centre aimed at tackling the growing threat posed by hackers to critical infrastructure and commerce in the city. The number of attacks and the types of attack have increased exponentially MICHAEL GAZELEY, NETWORK BOX CORP Since 2009 there has been a more than 1,900 per cent increase in financial losses due to computer crime, from HK$45.1 million to HK$916.9 million last year, according to police statistics. The Hong Kong Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Centre said in January it recorded 1,593 security incidents last year, up 52 per cent on 2012, and identified more than 8,300 "invisible bot machines" being used for cyberattacks in Hong Kong in the fourth quarter of last year. Such statistics only scratched the surface of the problem, said Michael Gazeley, the managing director of Network Box Corp, a managed security service. "The number of attacks and the types of attack have increased exponentially," he said, adding that the "vast majority of businesses really are not taking this seriously". Gazeley warned against complacency from companies that had hired dedicated security personnel. When it came to cybersecurity, "there's an enormous area that needs to be covered, and thinking you can hire one security guy who can cover it is farcical", he said. Gazeley pointed out that Network Box updated its service to take account of potential security threats more than 16,000 times a day. "This is the sort of thing that can only be outsourced to a managed security service," he said. "I don't see how any normal organisation could do it by themselves."