A leading US multinational has warned that the global cyber threat is changing at an unprecedented pace, with the next phase of protection set to focus on cars.
Intel Security/McAfee general manager Christopher Young said the world had finally woken up to the cyber security threat posed by criminals, rogue nations and terrorist groups.
Mr Young endorsed the warning by Defence Minister Simon Coveney that cyber security was now one of the biggest issues facing both countries and companies in the years ahead.
Enhanced cyber security is now at the heart of a major Irish defence review.
Mr Young, speaking as he visited Intel Security's 400-strong Cork operation, said cyber security had moved from being a little-considered backroom function of IT departments to being an issue raised regularly at boardroom and Cabinet level. "The attack landscape is becoming more diverse than we have ever seen," he acknowledged.
The Intel official pointed out that areas which were never associated with computing were now the focus of security threat reviews.
"The car has never been classically thought of as a computing platform that needs to be protected by an IT security function," he told the Irish Independent. "But all of the talk in the US right now is about automotive. People are now paying a lot of attention to it. We are connecting vehicles and devices that never used to be connected."
McAfee opened its Cork office in 2005 with just 40 staff. The CityGate complex in Mahon now employs almost 400 people and was hailed as one of the strategic centres for the firm.