Business Technology

Friday 27 April 2018

Musgrave cyber-attack highlights security risk to Irish businesses

'Despite these attacks becoming more commonplace, Irish businesses and their owners do not seem adequately prepared for them. '. Stock photo: REUTERS
'Despite these attacks becoming more commonplace, Irish businesses and their owners do not seem adequately prepared for them. '. Stock photo: REUTERS
Ailish O'Hora

Ailish O'Hora

The recent cyber-attack at retail giant Musgrave Group is the latest example in a long line of hacker strikes on Irish business in the recent past.

And it is feared that two-thirds of all economic crimes suffered by Irish businesses will be cyber-related by 2019.

Musgrave, Ireland's biggest grocery distributor which operates household brands like SuperValu, Centra and Daybreak, detected a problem last Monday. It involved malware, or malicious software, on a central network that was attempting to extract debt and credit card numbers and expiry dates. However, the software involved was not looking for the cardholder name, PIN or CVV numbers. While there is no evidence that any data has been stolen, Musgrave has urged all customers to check their bank statements carefully as a result of the attack. But there have been a number of high-profile cyber-crimes against leading Irish businesses, banks and State agencies in recent times. For example, a group associated with the North Korea regime is the main suspect behind the €4.3m attack on Meath County Council last year.

Hacker attacks like Wannacry and Petya are becoming household names.

A serious, global cyber-attack could result in damages of $121bn (€102bn) in economic losses, according to a report from Lloyd's of London this year. Lloyds said the figure was on par with a natural disaster like Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Despite these attacks becoming more commonplace, Irish businesses and their owners do not seem adequately prepared for them. "The truth is that cyber-security is a people issue, a technology issue, and a budget issue," said Paolo Perfetti, chief information and technology officer at eir.

"Cyber-security is a challenge for businesses at every level," said Perfetti. "We live in an increasingly networked world and cyber-criminals don't limit themselves by geography. Borders have no meaning for this type of crime and networks are often vulnerable. But this doesn't mean that Irish companies should panic," he added.

Perfetti is one of the speakers at Dublin Information Sec 2017, Ireland's cyber-security conference, which will address the critically important issues that threaten businesses in the information age.

Other speakers include Jeanette Manfra, the US assistant secretary for cyber security; Rik Ferguson, global VP security research at Trend Micro; and Joseph Carson, cyber-security strategist at Thycotic.

Featuring experts in a variety of security fields, the event will also deal with some of the most important emerging challenges in IT security. It takes place on November 1 at Dublin's RDS. For further information on the event go to www.independent.ie/infosec

Dublin Information Sec 2017 Podcast. Ireland’s cyber security conference, addresses the critically important issues that threaten businesses in the information age.

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