One fifth of Irish firms ‘would pay €50,000 ransom’ to online criminals

Almost one-fifth of Irish businesses would pay a ransom of up to €50,000 to cyber criminals, a survey has found. The survey by IT firm DataSolutions found almost a third of senior IT professionals didn’t think their companies were equipped to deal with emerging cybersecurity threats.

Almost a fifth said their organisations had been attacked online in the past year, while almost half said their security was outdated. More than 110 senior IT professionals with mostly larger companies were surveyed.

Three-quarters of Irish firms upped cybersecurity after WannaCry, the survey found. WannaCry affected 230,000 computers globally in May, including the UK’s National Health Service and Spain’s Telefonica, while companies were hit by ransom demands. Files on infected computers were encrypted and a ransom was demanded to release the files back to the owner.

If held to ransom, 19% of Irish businesses would pay up to €50,000 to recover their data from cybercriminals — a substantial increase from a similar survey carried out by DataSolutions 17 months ago, when 7% said that they would pay a ransom.

Security specialist with DataSolutions, David Keating said: “Ransomware attacks are a very disruptive form of cybercrime, and as the recent WannaCry and Petya outbreaks made clear, they pose a huge threat to organisations of all types and sizes.

“Companies need to take steps to implement tried and tested security systems to secure their interests, or risk facing further attacks.”

Considering the numbers held to ransom in the past year, he said it could be deduced “a significant number of organisations” that fall victim to cybercrime are paying out to cybercriminals.

Global consumer products giant Reckitt Benckiser, which makes Dettol disinfectant, Nurofen tablets, and Durex condoms, said it estimated like-for-like revenue in the second quarter would fall 2% from a year earlier because of the Petya attack in June.

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