Friday 31 March 2017

Cyber crime hitting firms for €5bn a year

Hackers can get 'tools' online for €330, expert warns

Fergus Black

CYBER crime and attacks on websites is costing Irish business up to €5bn a year, an international expert warned yesterday.

For just €330, it is now possible to acquire the necessary "tools" online to bring down a website, Paul Dwyer told an international cyber threat conference in Dublin.

His warning came as Sony Music's Irish website yesterday became the latest victim of a cyber attack.

It follows another attack on Fox News in the US earlier this week in which false tweets reported that US President Barack Obama had been shot dead.

Sony has been the victim of a number of attacks in recent months and was forced to temporarily suspend its Playstation Network in April after details of more than 77 million customer accounts were compromised.

In the latest incident, Sony Music Ireland said it was investigating fake news stories which appeared on its website.

One, under the headline 'Tragedy Strikes The Script' claimed that members of the popular Irish band had died.

Malicious

The company said the stories that appeared on the site were untrue and sources insisted the attack was not a hack but a "malicious use" of email.

The company's website, sonymusic.ie, yesterday automatically redirected users to its official Facebook page as the company carried out an investigation and other pages, including its news and competition sections were taken offline.

Mr Dwyer, who is chief adviser to the International Cyber Threat Task Force (ICTTF) said that cyber crime was now a thriving underground economy with its own users, wholesalers and distributors, and a fully balanced economic model.

Yesterday, as hundreds of delegates attended the conference in Dublin on cyber threat, another expert warned that anonymity was allowing cyber crime gangs to flourish across the world and that greater international co-operation was needed to combat the threat.

Michael Baume, of Risk Management International Ltd, said that with so many people and companies relying on computers and the internet, it provided a "honeypot" for criminals.

Irish Independent

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