Cybercrime surge prompts Garda warning to Irish companies

Companies urged to better educate themselves about the risks posed by cybercrime

Cybercrime against business has risen in the last 12-18 months: the Garda asks firms to be more careful and to protect themselves with expertise.

Cybercrime against business has risen in the last 12-18 months: the Garda asks firms to be more careful and to protect themselves with expertise.

 

Irish companies have been warned of the need to take better precautions against cybercrime after a huge surge in attacks in the past year.

Det Insp Michael Gubbins, head of the Computer Crime Investigations Unit at the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation, said many small and medium-sized businesses aren’t taking the issue seriously enough.

Speaking ahead of an appearance at an Infosecurity Ireland seminar to be held in Dublin on Wednesday, he urged companies to better educate themselves against the risks posed by cybercrime.

His warning comes as a new survey from recruitment firm Experis shows a huge shortage of IT security professionals in Ireland.

“Companies have a responsibility to mind customers’ information and to protect their business but while some are taking adequate precautions, there are others who aren’t doing enough,” Det Insp Gubbins told The Irish Times.

Online security

Det Insp Gubbins said Irish companies are falling victim to a number of different forms of cybercrime, the most typical of which are invoice redirection fraud, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks and CEO fraud, in which criminals mimic a senior executive’s email account and direct employees to send money to an overseas bank account.

“In the last 12-18 months, we have seen a big ramp-up in incidents of cybercrime against Irish businesses,” said Det Insp Gubbins.

“In the case of CEO fraud, when this happens, it’s not about getting €5,000 but about obtaining hundreds of thousands of euro and this can have a devastating effect on a company.

“SMEs are more vulnerable than big companies such as the financial institutions because they don’t have the same sort of resources to invest in prevention tactics.

“But the onus is on firms of all sizes to better educate themselves on cybercrime so the public can have confidence in them,” he added.

Separately, the Experis survey findings reveal that a lack of skilled IT professionals is impacting on companies’ ability to protect themselves against cybercrime.

“Ireland is definitely following global trends in the cyber-security sector with a shortage of talent,” said Andrew Crawford, head of Experis Ireland.

“The fact is there simply isn’t enough mature security expertise to go around, either today or for the foreseeable future. At the core of the problem is the conundrum that mature skills and security experience cannot be taught by any academic programme. It takes time in the right jobs to develop,” he said.