Cybercrime costs firms 2.7% of turnover

Irish companies are losing, on average, almost 3% of their turnover to cybercriminals annually, an international conference on IT security has heard.

The conference was held amid the Europe-wide fallout from the hacking attack on Co Clare-based firm Loyaltybuild, from which the personal and/or credit or debit card details of 1.6m customers were stolen.

Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte, who addressed the conference in Dublin, said he was not satisfied that all precautions had been taken against what has become the country’s largest ever data breach.

“It would appear on the face of it that there has been negligence,” said Mr Rabbitte. He said he expected a thorough police investigation into the breach, which Loyaltybuild has called a sophisticated criminal attack.

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, who also addressed the event, said the breach had lessons for all involved in the digital economy.

“It is a timely reminder of the potential costs of cybercrime to individuals, businesses, and government bodies in terms of financial and reputational damage,” said Mr Gilmore, citing the average estimated cost of 2.7% of turnover.

“The lesson is clear — individuals, businesses, and government must be constantly vigilant and ensure that our systems evolve to meet the ever-growing threat.”

Cybersecurity expert Brian Honan, an advisor to Europol, said that while much of the focus was on Loyaltybuild, firms that used its services also needed to review their operations. SuperValu, Axa Insurance, ESB, Centra, Clerys, and Postbank were among Loyaltybuild clients.

SuperValu, which has 70,000 affected customers, said it had a team of IT experts investigating the breach. Loyaltybuild also has external experts on the case and gardaí and the Data Protection Commission are also investigating.


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