SMALL firms across the UK are collectively subject to nearly 10,000 cyber attacks per day, a survey has found, with the total annual cost to such businesses put at £4.5 billion.

The survey, conducted by the Federation of Small Businesses, included firms in Scotland, It found that more than one million small firms across the UK were subject to phishing, malware attacks and payment scams.

READ MORE: Ian McConnell: Brexiters more baffling than Flat Earthers as Cabinet views hit pound

Businesses in the north-west and south-east of England and West Midlands were most likely to suffer from cyber threats, the survey concluded. The average cost of an individual attack is put at £1,300.

FSB policy and advocacy chairman Martin McTague said: “These findings demonstrate the sheer scale of the dangers faced by small firms every day in the digital arena.”

READ MORE: Ian McConnell: Boris might still be grinning but millions of people are mired in misery of paying for Brexit foolishness

One in five small firms say a cyber attack has been committed against their business in the two years to January 2019. More than seven million individual attacks were indicated by the survey to have occurred over the period, equating to 9,741 incidents a day, the FSB noted. Phishing attempts are most common, with the survey signalling around 530,000 small firms suffering from such attacks over the two-year period.

READ MORE: Ian McConnell: Very British bravado on Brexit from Johnson fuels fears for UK future

The survey indicated 374,000 small firms had encountered incidences of malware, with 301,000 receiving fraudulent payment requests. Around 260,000 encountered instances of ransom-ware.

Mr McTague said: “It’s a threat that’s evolving rapidly, but too many small businesses still lack access to the resources and budgets needed to contain it.”