Gardaí warn companies to up cybersecurity amid crime spike

11 Apr 2016

A surge in cyberattacks against Irish businesses in 2015 has forced the Gardaí into action, warning companies to up their security know-how.

The head of the Gardaí’s Computer Crime Investigations Unit has warned Irish companies to improve their defences, as cybercrime continues to rise.

Speaking to The Irish Times, Det Insp Michael Gubbins said he felt the need to become more vocal about the threat amid a surge in attacks, as well as worrying reports of companies’ response potential.

“If someone sets up a shop on Grafton Street they are going to put in CCTV, alarms and other security measures,” he said. “The same concept has to be brought to bear with a company’s online presence, but this generally isn’t happening at present.”

Gubbins said the last 18 months have seen a spike in cybercrimes against Irish businesses, which, when placed alongside recent reports on the area, grows more worrying.

Cyberattacks prove costly

Data Solutions’ survey of 137 senior IT decision makers in Irish businesses found one-in-five had been held to ransom, with over half expecting to up their IT security spend this year. A recent survey from recruitment firm Experis also showed that there is a shortage of IT security professionals in the country.

Our recent report on the future of security pointed to research by Cisco that highlighted how, in 2015, cyberattacks continue to be a profitable business for cybercriminals, who are refining the way they attack back-end infrastructure.

Gubbins said invoice redirection fraud, DDoS attacks and CEO fraud are the three most common forms of attack.

“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,” he said.

Shield image via Annabel Kaye/Flickr

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic