Expert warns of cyber threats

Expert warns of cyber threats
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A cybersecurity expert has warned that most Irish business leaders continue to ignore cybersecurity threats at their peril. Another has claimed a “full-scale cyber war between countries will break out in 2018," writes Pádraig Hoare.

After the launch of PwC’s global information security report today, which surveyed 9,500 executives in 122 countries including Ireland, the firm’s Irish cyber leader Pat Moran said that despite cyber risk now being a significant threat to businesses, “organisations are still failing to get the message”.

Mr Moran said: “Most are ignoring areas such as cyber awareness and global standards, and focusing their limited resources in technology and infrastructure. While technology, particularly cloud-based, can support organisations to detect attacks and breaches, having people aware of the latest threats and being prepared to respond when incidents occur, is key.”

The report found 44% surveyed say they do not have an overall information security strategy; 48% do not have an employee security awareness training programme; and 54% don’t have an incident-response process. Focus has to start at the top, said Mr Moran.

“More boards need to ensure that cyber is a regular part of their agenda, that they review their cyber strategy frequently and ensure that all key parts, including people and process, get their fair share of the budget,” he said.

Meanwhile chief executive of IT security firm Ward Solutions, Pat Larkin predicted countries exponentially stepping up cyber warfare, leading to potential trouble for Ireland. He called for a national strategy to combat cyber attacks.

“2018 will see cybersecurity threats increase further in sophistication and the amount of damage that they can potentially cause. Furthermore, as state-sponsored groups increase their attacks on countries’ national infrastructures, civilians could begin to suffer as essential services come under strain,” he said.

“Ireland is particularly unprepared to deal with an attack on our critical national infrastructure, and to protect our interests we need to implement a comprehensive national cyber security strategy as soon as possible,” he said.

Cybercriminals could focus their attacks on critical infrastructure such as national power grids to destabilise countries such as Ireland, he said.

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