New survey to track extent of cyber crime in Ireland

27 Oct 2006

A research project has been launched that aims to provide the first reliable information on the impact of cyber crime on Irish organisations.

The security professionals’ association ISSA Ireland and University College Dublin (UCD) launched the ISSA/UCD Irish Cybercrime Survey yesterday morning at the second annual Irish Cybercrime forum, held in the Clinton auditorium in UCD. The data will be gathered between now and next month, with the results due to be published in mid-December.

The survey will gather information about end-user organisations, not consumers, in the Republic of Ireland. There will be four main areas of focus, with the answers used to gauge the scale of the problem in this country.

Firstly, the survey will examine the experience of cyber crime by type — for example asset theft, a denial of service attack or leak of confidential information. The next will assess its impact in terms of lost business or productivity as well as the financial implications.

The third area will how cyber crime incidents are detected, whether reported internally or by an outside party. Lastly, the survey will ask people to outline how they respond to events, the resources used to investigate and any changes made after a serious incident.

Owen O’Connor, vice-president of international development with the ISSA, said that international surveys typically didn’t break down data enough to do a peer comparison. In addition, by having statistical data rather than anecdotes and war stories, it is hoped to build up a more accurate picture of the extent of security threats to Irish organisations. “This is something that will be going in to people’s budget reports next January,” he said.

Those taking the survey will also be asked for some basic context data such as the number of IT staff in the company or its size by turnover but for confidentially reasons they will not be asked to disclose the name of their organisation. “It’s not just companies; we’re very keen to get [feedback from] government departments, agencies and semi-states,” O’Connor added.

ISSA intends for the survey to be a repeatable process so that data compiled in year one can be compared with survey results in future years. The survey can be taken online at

By Gordon Smith