Cyber scams cost us a massive €300m
MORE than one in five Irish people has lost money to cyber crime, with the losses calculated at up to €300m a new survey has found.
The study comes in the same week as it was feared that the details up to 43,000 loyalty card customers in Ireland could have been compromised by a cyber attack. Infections by computer viruses, credit card security problems and other scams have struck 22pc of people who took part in the new survey carried out by Amarach Research for ESET Ireland, an internet security company.
The survey of 1,000 people found that 9pc – which could represent as many as 314,000 people in the wider population – suffered a financial loss of up to €50. Combined with people who said they lost higher sums, ESET Ireland estimates that as much as €300m could have been lost to the Irish economy due to cyber crime.
A spokesman said: "Everyone knows virus infections occur, cards get abused, scams happen. The prevailing sentiment is still that it's something that happens rarely and it's primarily just a nuisance."
He said that the survey reveals that "it has likely happened to someone you know and it actually costs them money."
The financial losses incurred are listed as the cost of getting virus-infected computers repaired, having a credit or debit card abused or being the victim of an online scam or target of computer hacking.
The survey found that Connacht and Ulster were the hardest hit provinces with 30pc of respondents saying they had lost cash due to cyber crime, compared to 19pc in Dublin and the rest of Leinster.
According to ESET, 54pc of Irish computer users have suffered a malware infection at some point and its spokesman said that the numbers should "convince people to start taking computer security a bit more seriously".
Just this week it emerged that up to 43,000 loyalty card customers who booked getaway breaks could be affected by a security breach.
Credit and debit card details belonging to 39,000 Super Valu customers, 4,368 from Axa Insurance and 50 Stena Line customers may have been compromised following a cyber attack on Co Clare firm Loyaltybuild. The three companies said they are in contact with Loyaltybuild and set up helplines for customers who may be affected.
Loyaltybuild said they are investigating the incident and stressed that CVV (Card Verification Value) numbers – generally needed to complete online transactions – were not stored.
It said that it reported the attack to the Data Protection Commissioner as a precaution and that "Loyaltybuild had no, and indeed still has no, evidence to show that personal data has been compromised".
ESET advised people to keep anti-virus software updated and not to open suspicious files or suspicious websites.