Four out of five SMEs tar­gets of cy­ber­crime

Irish Examiner - - Business - Pádraig Hoare

One fifth of busi­nesses do not change their on­line pass­words reg­u­larly de­spite the fact that more than four out of five have been the tar­gets of on­line crime.

An an­nual sur­vey on crime from the Ir­ish Small and Medium En­ter­prise As­so­ci­a­tion found al­most unan­i­mous sup­port for a cy­ber­se­cu­rity agency to be set up.

The sur­vey of al­most 900 SMEs found that al­most a third of busi­nesses have been the vic­tim of com­put­er­re­lated crime in the past 12 months, ex­clud­ing com­mon phish­ing and spam emails.

There was a sharp rise in the amount of busi­nesses that had be­come in­fected with com­puter viruses, ris­ing to 62% from 42%. Spam emails were the most preva­lent on­line threat.

Isme called on the Gov­ern­ment to con­sider how it could sup­port gar­daí in “up­skilling and en­hanc­ing their ca­pac­ity in deal­ing with cy­ber-fraud and cy­ber­at­tacks”.

It also called for the es­tab­lish­ment of a cy­ber­se­cu­rity in­for­ma­tion shar­ing part­ner­ship, say­ing a sim­i­lar UK model had been set up.

A na­tional cy­ber­crime body should be set up, Isme said, while is called on the Gov­ern­ment to “ini­ti­ate an ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign high­light­ing the risks of e-crime”.

Isme chief ex­ec­u­tive Neil McDon­nell said: “Crimes against busi­ness takes many forms, but the area in which we see most in­creased ac­tiv­ity is cy­ber-crime. In­creased on­line busi­ness ac­tiv­ity has ex­pe­dited and ex­panded trade, cre­at­ing a cheaper, more flex­i­ble, and far reach­ing busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment — but with this comes se­cu­rity risk.”

Mr McDon­nell said busi­nesses had to take the is­sue of cy­ber­crime more se­ri­ously than ever be­fore.

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

He said if the rec­om­men­da­tions were put in place, “we would see a sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion in the num­ber of cy­ber-at­tacks on busi­nesses”.

One of the big­gest data breaches ever was re­vealed last week when global credit rat­ing com­pany Equifax ad­mit­ted a cy­ber­crime iden­tity theft could pos­si­bly have af­fected 143m US con­sumers.

In July, con­sumer goods gi­ant Reckitt Benckiser, which makes Det­tol, Nuro­fen tablets and Durex con­doms, said it rev­enue in its sec­ond quar­ter would fall 2% from a year ear­lier be­cause of a cy­ber­at­tack at­tack.

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