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Irish firms increase cyber security after WannaCry attack

Almost three in four Irish companies have made changes to their IT security as a direct result of the WannaCry ransomware incident, according to a survey by IT solutions distributor DataSolutions.

The research, carried out among 112 senior IT professionals and decision-makers, also found that one-fifth of senior IT decision-makers in Ireland would pay up to €50,000 to recover their data from cybercriminals if attacked.

This is a substantial increase from a similar survey carried out by DataSolutions 17 months ago, when just 7pc said that they would pay a ransom.
In addition, 19pc of those surveyed admitted that their organisation had been held to ransom in the past 12 months.

Earlier this year roughly 200,000 computers in 150 countries, including Ireland, were infected by the unprecedented WannaCry ransomware attack.
However, despite upgrades to Irish security systems since the attack, 30pc of respondents still don’t think that their organisation is capable of protecting itself against emerging threats, suggesting that ransomware remains an issue for Irish organisations.

“Ransomware attacks are a very disruptive form of cybercrime, and, as the recent WannaCry and Petya outbreaks made clear, they pose a huge threat to organisations of all types and sizes,” David Keating, security specialist, DataSolutions, said.
When it comes to the factors that are leaving companies vulnerable to exposure, a failure to frequently update IT equipment could be playing a part.

Almost one in two surveyed said that the platforms that they work with on a daily basis are outdated, in addition a massive 77pc of those surveyed said that a lack of security savvy among employees put their organisation at risk of a data breach.
Despite these vulnerabilities, 67pc of those surveyed claimed not to have experienced a data breach in the past year, with one-third stating that they had experienced breaches.

“Cybercriminals have access to incredible resources and extremely sophisticated technologies, but many businesses are continuing to implement technologies that focus on detecting attacks, rather than preventing them.
This fragmented approach focuses on fix after the damage has been done,” Mr Keating said.

The complete survey results will be revealed at DataSolutions’ Secure Computing Forum in the Aviva Stadium on 21 September.

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