Plan to establish dedicated regional cybercrime units

By Pádraig Hoare

Increased Garda investment against cybercrime will see the introduction of dedicated regional units within the next two years, a conference on cybersecurity has heard.

The Zero Day Con event at the Convention Centre in Dublin heard from Detective Chief Superintendent Pat Lordan, who heads up the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau.

“Cybercriminals, by skimming, phishing, and vishing, are gathering information on us all the time. I have this big fear that there’s some group out there gathering all this information for the D-day when they’re going to hit us all,” he said.

Chief Supt Lordan said increased Garda investment would lead to better defences against cybercrime, which is said to be more lucrative globally than the international illegal drugs trade.

“We will have a regional liaison unit within the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau which will assist the different Garda units around the country. By the end of this year, I will have a fraud prevention office, which will be primarily focused on the cyber fraud end of things.

“We have a very good crime prevention officer in each division but the challenge is to help them to keep up with this type of technology. Some things will still need to be done centrally. An Garda Síochána is taking this threat seriously, and asks all victims of this type of crime to come forward.”

The conference, organised by Cork firm Smarttech247, also heard from chargé d’affaires at the US Embassy in Dublin, Reece Smyth, as well as fraudster turned cybersecurity expert, Tony Sales.

Smarttech247 CEO Ronan Murphy, tech investor Pat Phelan, and IBM Security vice president of development, Mary O’Brien, also spoke at the event, which saw hundreds of delegates attend from around the world.

Other topics at the conference included the upcoming major EU data protection legislation, the General Data Protection Regulation.

The legislation, which comes into law in May, is designed to harmonise data privacy laws across Europe and to protect citizens’ data privacy.

If organisations fail to comply with the regulation, they can be fined up to 4% of annual global turnover, or €20m.


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