CYBER terrorism is the biggest threat faced by software developers across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) according to a new report.

It comes from market intelligence and strategic planning group Evans Data, which says the sector is “extremely concerned” by the threat, yet relatively few companies have in place a formal security strategy.

Its EMEA Development Survey found 38.4 per cent of developers rate it their biggest threat followed by cyber theft (29.8 per cent) and cyber espionage (21.4 per cent). Cyber espionage in some ways is related to both cyber theft and cyber terrorism, but the company said it was distinguished from them in that it involved the theft of sensitive, classified, or proprietary information, rather than theft of money or deliberate sabotage.

Evans Data CEO, Janel Garvin said: “Security is especially worrisome for developers in Europe.

“They are most concerned with the very real threat of terrorism, and the failure of many organisations to implement a formal security strategy just adds to the anxiety.

“Only 30 per cent of these developers say their company has a formal security policy in place that is adhered to across departments, and that’s very concerning when you think about the other 70 per cent.”

Developers added that the main obstacles to establishing better security in their organisations were a lack of funding and shortfalls in expertise or training.

They also pointed out that mobile devices were the weakest link in their security programs.

Evans Data carries out its EMEA Development Survey twice a year with up to 500 developers within the region.

This survey builds on a previous report on the Internet of Things (IoT) applications which found that more than half (55 per cent) of developers thought security was “extremely important” in IoT development.

Almost a third of them (31 per cent) believed the biggest trouble spot for security lay in the software or firmware used for interconnected devices.

Exposing data to mobile devices was cited as a major security threat by 22 per cent, followed by transmitting data through a network or cloud (16.7 per cent).

The physical security of devices was lower down the list with just 13.8 per cent of developers expressing their concern.

“Security is without doubt the most serious problem that developers face with Internet of Things and for good reason,” added Garvin.

“With IoT and connected devices we’re bringing software out of the computer and into the real world, where cyber attacks or hacking can bring real world consequences. Developers understand this and take it quite seriously.”

The company said developers were employing a number of security mechanisms to combat cyber threats, with the most commonly cited being context-aware access control, endpoint threat detection, real-time security analytics and cloud access security control.