Three quarters of Irish firms step up cyber security following ransomware attacks

According to the results of a survey commissioned by DataSolutions, three quarters of Irish companies made changes to their IT security as a direct result of the WannaCry ransomware incident. Pictured are: Michael O'Hara, managing director, DataSolutions, and David Keating, security specialist, DataSolutions.
Gareth McKeown

THREE quarters of firms have upped their IT security following the world-wide cyber attacks in May.

According to a new survey 73 per cent of companies in Northern Ireland and the Republic have taken steps to enhance their security as a direct result of the WannaCry ransomware incident.

The research carried out by IT solutions distributor DataSolutions has also revealed that 19 per cent of respondents would pay ransom of up to £45,000 to cybercriminals.

In May approximately 200,000 computers in 150 countries, including Northern Ireland and the Republic, were infected by the unprecedented WannaCry ransomware attack.

Despite widespread upgrades to security systems since the attack, DataSolutions found that a significant 30 per cent of respondents still don't think that their organisation is capable of protecting itself against emerging threats.

When asked if they had been held to ransom in the past 12 months, 19 per cent stated that they had.

David Keating, security specialist, at DataSolutions, said the results highlight that ransomware remains an effective weapon for cybercriminals seeking to extract money from businesses.

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

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 Almost half (46 per cent) of those surveyed said that the platforms that they work with on a daily basis are outdated.

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