Irish SME Association calls to establish national cybercrime body

21 Sep 2017

Ransomware is just one of many risks that poor security poses. Image: Jmiks/Shutterstock

The ISME has found that the majority of Irish businesses have been victims of cybercrime.

The increase in cyberattacks on SMEs here in Ireland has been highlighted by the Irish SME Association (ISME) in a new report, with 81pc of businesses surveyed saying they had been victims of cybercrime.

CEO of ISME, Neil McDonnell, commented that cybercrime is the most increased form of crime that businesses are affected by, reflecting wider global trends, with reports of large data breaches becoming more and more commonplace.

‘Businesses must become more aware of the threats posed by cyberattacks and take proper preventative measures’

Neglecting to change business passwords a huge risk

In a notable finding, the survey revealed that 20pc of businesses don’t change their passwords, something McDonnell views as a major issue.

“Businesses must become more aware of the threats posed by cyberattacks and take proper preventative measures. It is worrying that 20pc of businesses surveyed do not change their password settings. This is a very simple preventative measure any business can take.”

The survey was answered by 894 companies in Ireland, and results were analysed by region and sector, location, and size by employment.

98pc of respondents would welcome the establishment of a national body or organisation to tackle the cybercrime juggernaut.

30pc of businesses have experienced cybercrime (excluding spam or phishing emails) within the last 12 months, and the amount of businesses succumbing to computer viruses jumped to 62pc, an increase of 20pc on last year’s figures.

A national cybercrime body?

ISME put forward several recommendations, including increased support and training for law enforcement to increase its capacity to deal with cybercrime, establishing a national cybercrime database, and creating a cybersecurity information-sharing partnership so threat information can be disseminated swiftly.

McDonnell added: “If the recommendations above are taken on board by the business community, law-enforcement agencies and Government, we would see a significant reduction in the number of cyberattacks on businesses.”

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects