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Cyber Attacks Force Companies to Change Security Measures

Cyber Attacks Force Companies to Change Security Measures

9 Aug 2017

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A recently conducted survey has found that 73% of companies have made changes to their IT security as a result of the recent WannaCry ransomware incident.

In May 2017, around 200,000 computers in 150 countries, including Ireland, were infected by the WannaCry ransomware attack. Despite the majority of companies making significant upgrades to their security systems since the attack, DataSolutions, the company conducting the research, found that 30% of respondents claimed they don’t think their organisation is capable of protecting itself against emerging threats.

The survey highlighted that ransomware appears to remain an issue for Irish and Northern Irish organisations, with 19% of respondents saying they have been held to ransom in the past 12 months.

If held to ransom, 19% of businesses said they would pay up to €50,000 to recover their data. This figure is a large increase from a similar survey carried out by DataSolutions 17 months ago when just 7% of respondents said they would pay a ransom.

A security specialist from DataSolutions, David Keating, had his say about the results of the survey:

“The results of this year’s survey highlight that ransomware remains an effective weapon for cybercriminals seeking to extract money from businesses. 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. Companies need to take steps to implement tried and tested security systems to secure their interests, or risk facing further attacks.

“Considering the numbers stating that they have been held to ransom in the past 12 months, we can infer that a significant number of organisations that fall victim to cybercrime are paying out to cybercriminals.”

Causes

The survey looked into the factors that are leaving companies open to cyber-attacks and found that updating IT equipment could play a big part in preventing attacks. Nearly half (46%) of those surveyed said that the platforms they work on daily are outdated.

Individual employees were also highlighted as a potential vulnerability, with 77% saying a lack of “security savvy” workers put their organisation at risk of a breach.

But despite these “vulnerabilities”, 67% of those surveyed claimed to have not experienced a data breach in the past year, with one-third stating they had fallen victim to a breach.

But David Keating isn’t convinced by those figures, as he continued:

“The fact that almost 70% of respondents claim not to have experienced a cyber-breach in the past 12 months displays a fundamental misunderstanding as to what constitutes a data breach. The term does not solely refer to the instance of a ransomware attack and, with this in mind, it is likely that far more of these companies may have experienced some form of security compromise.

“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 a fix after the damage has been done. Companies need to change tack and apply new approaches that are focused on prevention to ward off future attacks.”

(Prevention against cybercrime is a hot topic, and we previously covered some of The Essential Lectures on Cybercrime).

It is for reasons like these that IT security jobs are becoming more and more key. Why not take a look at our available vacancies and see how you can help in the fight against cybercrime?