Hackers targeting Irish businesses on the rise

One of the world’s leading cyber security experts has called on the Government to invest heavily in combatting cyber attacks as new research reveals that more than eight in 10 Irish businesses have been targeted in the past 12 months.

Intel Security Group general manager Christopher Young said governments, including our own, need to do more to develop the next generation of trained security professionals to combat the increasingly complex array of attacks businesses face.

Visiting the company’s Cork offices, Mr Young said the attackers are currently ahead of the security industry which has traditionally lagged behind the rest of IT in terms of pace of development and called for more to be done to tackle the threats which cost organisations billions of euro every year.

“You’ve got well-organised activism, hacktivism if you will, [and] I would say the threat landscape is becoming far more sophisticated than we’ve ever seen and that’s manifested itself in the discovery of breaches pretty much everywhere you turn,” said Mr Young.

“In some ways, we shouldn’t be surprised we’re seeing a lot of breaches because most people didn’t care about security. If you go back five or 10 years we were kind of a back-office function of IT.

"Now everybody cares and I think that’s a positive thing. We’re actually starting to invest the dollars, get the best people and we’re going to get these things solved, it’s something I’ve dedicated my career to.”

The security chief, who previously held the title of senior vice-president of both VMware and Cisco’s security business, said as the importance of cyber security becomes more mainstream, governments must do more to provide the skills needed to address the issue.

“I’ve been an advocate of this in the US and I’ll be an advocate of it in Ireland: Governments need to invest in training the next generation of cyber security talent,” said Mr Young.

“Individual companies aren’t going to be able to get enough people to make a dent in the problem but if the developed world said ‘we’re going to create thousands of new trained cybersecurity professionals’, that in and of itself would make a big difference.”

With the internet of things facilitating the emergence of an increasing number of threats, Intel Security (McAfee) is mirroring the approach to tackle the issue by increasing the connectivity between its security products.

New research produced by William Fry shows the importance of having sufficient cybersecurity measures in place, with 81% of Irish businesses experiencing an attack in the past year.

In a survey of 1,000 IT security professionals, 46% of attacks took more than four months to be detected with a further three months needed to mitigate the risk.


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