Irish security firm fights back against the cyber virus

An Irish cybersecurity startup outlines the cyber threats facing health organisations, writes Trish Dromey

Irish security firm fights back against the cyber virus

An Irish cybersecurity startup outlines the cyber threats facing health organisations, writes Trish Dromey

Unscrupulous cyber criminals across the globe are taking advantage of overstretched health care organisations and companies as people work from home are now vulnerable to cyber attacks.

“A Czech hospital has already been a victim of a ransomware attack,” says Paul Dwyer, founder of Dublin cyber security technology company Cyber Risk International (CRI).

He adds that employees everywhere are now receiving more phishing emails, fraudulent invoice requests and are being sent fake log ins which allow hackers access to company systems.

Given that hospitals can be crippled by this type of attack, Mr Dwyer doesn’t charge health organisations in Ireland which need to boost their cyber security for its software.

He says his company is also offering online advice and information to businesses on ways to mitigate the threats of cybercriminal opportunists taking advantage of the Covid-19 crisis.

“Employees are no longer safe behind firewalls in their offices and they are dealing with are a whole new set of risks,” he says.

CRI completed a €1m funding round at the end of last year and was preparing to launch CyberPrism in the US market when Covid 19 began to spread globally.

Although the company’s expansion plans have been temporarily put on hold, Mr Dwyer says the type of cyber management system offered to CRI’s customers works well in situations where cyber security needs to be managed with a minimum amount of human contact.

“It allows companies to self assess the cyber security risk, can be used by non cyber experts and is a viable alternative to bringing in professional service teams to perform a cyber security assessment, which has been traditional practice,” he says.

Mr Dwyer originally set up CRI in 2014 as a cyber security services company.

“Within the first eight weeks we had taken on €1m worth of orders but the reality was we couldn’t find the number of cyber security staff we needed to scale internationally,” he explains.

Within a year, Mr Dwyer decided to use his expertise in cyber security to create a software solution which automate the services provided by the company and allow it to develop global sales as a cyber technology company.

Bootstrapping and using revenue from services, CRI spent two years developing the system and building and testing a prototype.

“What was different from existing solutions was our methodology— it combines business security with risk management,” he says, adding that self assessment is both more cost effective and less invasive CRI launched CyberPrism at an EU Cyber Summit in Dublin in 2018.

“Within the first three months last year we sold nearly €1m worth of software,” says Mr Dwyer.

His clients include Irish Life, Laya Health Care, Axa, Debenhams, Bank of Ireland, as well as Ryanair.

The British government became a customer in 2019.

“CyberPrism is the only cyber assessment approved by the UK government for use in the public sector,” he says.

Securing €1m in funding in October, which included High Potential Start Up funding from Enterprise Ireland as well as investment from SOS Ventures, allowed the company to complete the transition from a service company and to hire more sales and marketing staff.

It has since grown its core staff numbers to eight but employs 15 people in all, with offices in London and New York.

Targeting companies across a wide variety of sectors, the company’s main success has so far been in the financial and aviation markets. Before the Covid 19 crisis, CRI had planned to focus its attention on the financial sector in North America.

In the current situation Mr Dwyer says the company aims to develop a global network of resellers and to use online resources to grow the business.

Advising all companies to be vigilant, he says CRI will continue to provide threat related support information via social media channels.

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