€300m – the cost of cybercrime as one in four Irish fall prey to scammers

8 Nov 2013

Around 22pc of the Irish population have lost money to cybercrime – netting cyber-criminals, including scammers and hackers, a whopping €300m windfall.

The latest ESET Ireland survey reveals the extent to which people have fallen prey to scammers, been held up by ransomware, have had their computers infected, and/or their credit or debit card details accessed.

ESET Ireland commissioned a survey in October, carried out by Amárach Research, on 1,000 Irish adults, which asked whether they ever suffered financial loss and how much because of cyber threats, consisting of repairing an infected computer, having their credit/debit card abused, being victim of an online/phone/text scam or a target of hacking, and related incidents.

While 78pc of survey respondents said they suffered no loss (or didn’t use a computer), the 22pc who did, which is nearly one in four people, represent a significant percentage.

Financial impact of hacker attacks on the Irish

With 9pc having lost up to €50 and the Irish population currently being at about 3.5m adults, this translates into 315,000 people having lost up to more than €15m just for the first group.

And if we add up all the numbers and losses of all others, from the top 9pc to the bottom 1pc who lost more than €3,000, 10 out of 1,000 said they lost more than €3,000. In the whole of Ireland that could mean 35,000 people with more than €105m in costs.

The final statistical estimate of Irish direct and indirect cyber-crime damages could be beyond €300m, according to ESET.

Dublin and the rest of Leinster seem to be the safest, with 19pc having suffered losses, while Connaught and Ulster seem hardest hit, with 30pc having lost money.

Females and the older generation seem to be more cautious, with 20pc of females versus 24pc of males, and the older age group of 45-54 with 19pc versus the younger group of 25-34 with 27pc having suffered financial consequences of their online activities.

A previous survey found out 54pc of Irish computer users have already suffered a malware infection, 15pc had their credit/debit card abused, and 14pc were victims of online or phone scams.

ESET urged computer users to keep their system and antivirus software patched and up to date, not to open suspicious files or go to suspicious websites, not to download pirated materials and to be careful with their banking and credit-card information.

“If you’re unsure of anything you’ve received online, just ring your bank and ask.”

Hacker image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years