Irish Companies Have Been Held Hostages By Hackers

About 20pc of Irish businesses have been infected by ransomware over the past year, and cyber criminals have demanded ransom for the return of sensitive data or the access to their machines.

Nevertheless, despite these attacks, 93pc of 137 senior IT decision makers in Irish businesses have said that they would never pay a ransom to cyber criminals. However, the truth here is that they will probably have no choice and should pay up to access their systems again and avoid the fallout of sensitive data being leaked out.

The security reports show that over the past year, cyber attacks have been a profitable business for hackers, who are refining the way they attack back-end infrastructure.

In 2015 security researchers identified the largest Angler exploit kit operation in the US, which targeted 90,000 victims every day and generated tens of millions of dollars a year by demanding ransoms off victims. The experts estimate that, presently, 9,515 users in USA are paying ransoms every month, amounting to an annual revenue of $34m for certain cybercrime gangs.

The Data Solutions managing director Michael O’Hara claims that when faced with the situation and the inability to access their core IT systems, IT decision makers may have very little choice but to stump up.

93pc say that they would never pay a ransom, but faced with the reality of an actual ransomware attack I think you’d find most would,” O’Hara stated.

Every business has sensitive or mission-critical data and ultimately it would come down to a business decision if that was under threat.”

Less than 10pc have complete confidence in their information security measures and this highlights the pressing need for companies to take the threat of these and other forms of cyberattacks more seriously.”

According to a survey, 80pc of Irish businesses have upgraded their IT security in the past year, and 55pc expect to spend more on security measures in 2016 than they did in previous years.

The top of IT decision makers’ minds is the risk of data loss or disclosure resulting in negative publicity as a direct result of cybercrime, with 55pc admitting this was their main concern.

Among the other concerns were DDoS attacks, which recently plagued Irish government and public sector websites and the national lottery, social engineering and data destruction.

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