Most Irish businesses have now been victims of cyber attacks, with incidents increasing dramatically in the past three years, a survey has found.
EY’s 19th Global Information Security Survey found that cybersecurity incidents have increased by nearly 30% in two years, with the main forms of attack aimed at stealing data and disrupting systems.
The worldwide survey, conducted among 1,735 IT security professionals and executives — including 54 in Ireland — found almost three out of four Irish organisations have been the focus of attacks, compared to just over half globally.
The survey found poor employee awareness, inadequate knowledge of information security at board level and insufficient budgets were the main contributory factors.
Hugh Callaghan, cyber- security leader of EY Ireland, said: “Our research shows that while Irish businesses are now more focused than ever on managing cyber risk, they are still playing catch-up with cyber criminals, who continue to find ways around organisations’ security controls and exploit their employees’ lack of awareness to steal money and data.”
Mr Callaghan warned that an added threat was cyber criminals destroying data as well as stealing it.
“There is a real threat of a significant cybersecurity incident putting an unprepared organisation out of business for good, so there is an onus on companies to protect themselves by stepping up their focus and investment in tackling this threat,” he said.
A conference on cyber- security will take place in Dublin in March to provide business leaders with guidance on how to protect their firms.
Key authorities from the FBI, IBM, TrendMicro, Palo Alto Networks, and Smarttech will attend the ‘Zero Day Conference’ in the Convention Centre Dublin on March 7 to discuss the US election, corporate hacks, and safety.
Ronan Murphy, CEO of Smarttech, said: “The threats presented by cyber attacks to businesses both large and small are unprecedented. The best form of defence is knowledge and Zero Day Con will allow attendees to learn from the challenges that other companies have faced.”
This article was originally published in the Irish Examiner on 19 January 2017