Eight out of 10 firms victims of cybercrime
More than eight out of 10 Irish small firms have fallen victim to cybercrime, according to a new survey from business lobby group ISME.
However, 20pc of business bosses admit that their firms don't take basic precautions such as changing passwords.
Almost two-thirds say they have suffered a computer virus infection, a jump on last year.
Cybercrime is now the third most common crime reported by small businesses in Ireland after burglary and vandalism, according to the ISME survey.
However, theft of company data has decreased to 5pc from 6pc last year and there has been a reduction in the numbers of hardware thefts, down from 11pc in 2016 to 3pc in 2017.
Overall, the highest incidence of crime was reported in Dublin (41pc), followed by the rest of Leinster (37pc) and then Ulster and Connacht (25pc).
Just over half (54pc) of enterprises said the direct cost of criminal activity was in the €1,000 to €5,000 range, while 10pc of business stated it was more than €10,000.
"Crimes against business takes many forms, but the area in which we see most increased activity is cybercrime," said ISME chief executive Neil McDonnell. "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. Businesses must become more aware of the threats posed by cyber-attacks 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."