In May 2017, approximately 200,000 computers in 150 countries, including Ireland, were infected by the unprecedented WannaCry ransomware attack. Irish specialist IT solutions distributor, DataSolutions, has today released research to see what impact this had on Irish firms.
The Irish tech company commissioned a survey which was carried out by TechPro in July 2017 among 112 senior IT professionals and decision-makers in businesses based in Ireland, which were typically larger enterprises.
The survey found that despite widespread upgrades to Irish security systems since the attack, DataSolutions found that a significant 30% of respondents still don’t think that their organisation is capable of protecting itself against emerging threats. The research indicates that ransomware remains an issue for Irish organisations. When asked if they had been held to ransom in the past 12 months, 19% of survey respondents stated that they had.
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 Almost half (46%) of those surveyed said that the platforms that they work with on a daily basis are outdated. Employees were also singled out as a critical vulnerability, with 77% saying that a lack of security savvy among employees put their organisation at risk of a data breach.
Despite these vulnerabilities, 67% of those surveyed claimed not to have experienced a data breach in the past year, with one-third stating that they had experienced breaches.
The research finds that if held to ransom, 19% of Irish businesses would pay up to €50,000 to recover their data from cybercriminals. This is a substantial increase from a similar survey carried out by DataSolutions 17 months ago, when just 7% said that they would pay a ransom.
Commenting on the research, Security Specialist at DataSolutions, David Keating said, "The results of this year’s survey highlight that ransomware remains an effective weapon for cybercriminals seeking to extract money from Irish 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."
He added, "Companies need to take steps to implement tried and tested security systems to secure their interests, or risk facing further attacks."
The complete survey results will be revealed at DataSolutions’ Secure Computing Forum in the Aviva Stadium on 21st September.