Sunday 17 November 2019

Over 80pc of SMEs fall victim to cyber crime - but 20pc still don't change their password

Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

The majority of small to medium Irish businesses have fallen victim to cyber crime - and would like to see a central body set up to prevent and tackle these incidents.

However, some 20pc of these firms don't change their password.

Over the last twelve months, some 81pc of SMEs have reported an e-crime attack on their firm and 98pc have called for the establishment of a national cyber crime group.

The figures were revealed in the latest E-crime report from the Irish SME association, ISME, which has been released today. 

Although the number of firms stating they were subject to an attack has fallen slightly compared with last year's figure of 82pc, ISME said the issue of cyber-attacks and online computer related incidents has increased over the last decade.

"Crimes against business takes many forms, but the area in which we see most increased activity is cyber-crime," ISME CEO Neil McDonnell said.

"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".

Details of the types of attacks revealed in the report include experienced computer related crime, excluding 'Spam' or Phishing' emails (30pc of firms affected), virus infections (62pc - up from 42pc) and theft of company data (5pc).

Of those who experienced a computer related incident, 'Spam' is the most prevalent issue at 74pc, an increase from 67pc in 2016.

However, there has been a reduction in the numbers of hardware thefts, down from 11pc in 2016 to 3pc in 2017.

"Businesses must become more aware of the threats posed by cyber-attacks and take proper preventative measures," said Mr McDonnell

"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."

ISME has put forward several recommendations in combatting e-crime both for businesses and the Government including the establishment of a 'Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership', similar to the UK's system, which allows for the sharing of cyber threat information, and the setting up establishment of a central body to deal with cyber crime. 

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