According to the information revealed at their conference in Dublin, the Irish reporting and information security service (IRISSCERT) had 441 security incidents reported to it in 2011, 92 per cent of which related to Irish websites being broken into by criminals to host phishing sites to target unsuspecting users. Just under all (96 per cent) were suspected of being sponsored by organised crime gangs.
Spokesperson Brian Honan said: “The volume and type of incidents we deal with on a daily basis are a clear indication to Irish businesses that cyber crime is a real threat to our systems, our businesses and the economy. We can no longer afford to treat information security as an afterthought and need to ensure we take the appropriate steps to secure our systems. Criminals are sharing information and working together so they can exploit our systems and steal our money.”
ESET Ireland has also been conducting own research in this direction. One of our recent surveys has revealed that 1 in 4 Irish computer users has already had their computer crashed or otherwise damaged by viruses or malware. 1 in 5 has had their computer infected or data stolen. 14% were hacked or had their social media accounts hijacked. And nearly every tenth person was cheated, had their credit cards or private info abused or their system was used to unknowingly dispatch spam.
We have also reported that many of these could be avoided, but the Irish computer users show a stubborn reluctance to behave safely online as 34% of the surveyed computer users ignore the alerts their antivirus shows them.
And in yet another research, we revealed the password habbits of the Irish, that showed at least a third of Irish computer users have set up passwords that include letters and numbers, rather than just a simple sequence of letters or numbers, but among a fifth of the Irish, even more in Connaught and Ulster, simple passwords are still most widespread.
All in all, our findings combined with those of the IRISSCERT tell us that Ireland is coming under increased cyber attack, but the Irish still don’t seem to be taking it quite seriously enough and do not take appropriate measures to secure the sensitive data that could end up being abused for the financial gain of the cyber-criminals.