• Companies with ‘cyber security fatigue’ are leaving themselves vulnerable

Ubiquitous warnings about cyber security have led many businesses to ignore them altogether, leaving them open to attack from criminals, according to a study by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Survey respondents said that the number of software updates they had to install and passwords they had to remember has become overwhelming.

Computer scientist Mary Theofanos, one of the experts who worked on the study, said: "We weren't even looking for fatigue in our interviews, but we got this overwhelming feeling of weariness throughout all of the data."

She added: "Years ago, you had one password to keep up with at work," said Ms Theofanos. "Now people are being asked to remember 25 or 30. We haven't really thought about cyber security expanding and what it has done to people."

The research revealed that many people are now resigned to experiencing a cyber attack and have, therefore, become lax about protecting against the inevitable. This attitude was compounded by regular news of large companies, with big cybersecurity budgets, falling victim to attacks despite their huge spend on protection.

At the other end of the spectrum, the study also found that there were some people who wrongly believed they wouldn’t ever be attacked as they were an unattractive target when compared to a large corporate organisation.

Read our ultimate guide to cyber security here