Irish companies warned of increasing ransomware threat


Irish small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) have been advised to be vigilant against cyber attacks.

The National Cyber ​​Security Center (NCSC) and Garda National Cyber ​​Crime Bureau (GNCCB) have warned business owners of an increased ransomware threat.

In a letter to Ibec’s Small Firms Association, the NCSC and GNCCB said they had observed a “trend of small and medium-sized businesses becoming increasingly targeted by ransomware groups.”

NCSC and GNCCB said that historically these groups have typically focused on larger organizations, but “recently there have been several smaller Irish companies that have been hit by ransomware”.

Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until an amount of money is paid. Ransomware gangs often threaten to reveal sensitive stolen data if no ransom is paid. In May 2021, the Health Service Executive fell victim to a devastating ransomware attack that crippled key IT systems and had a significant impact on the delivery of healthcare services across the country.

NCSC Director Richard Browne said: “We have been concerned with the ransomware threat for some time; However, we have seen a noticeable change in the tactics used by criminal ransomware groups, moving away from primarily focusing on governments, critical infrastructure and large corporations, and increasingly targeting smaller businesses. This is a trend that has been observed around the world and Ireland is no exception as several companies have fallen victim to these groups in recent weeks.”

In their joint letter to Ibec, the NCSC and GNCCB reiterated the steps SMEs can take to prevent and recover from cyberattacks such as ransomware and referred to several guides published by the NCSC on the subject.

“While we appreciate that many business owners are understandably nervous about the threat of ransomware, there are some simple security measures that can be taken to ensure an organization’s data and systems remain secure,” added Dr. Browne added.

Business owners have also been urged to report incidents to both the NCSC and An Garda Síochána that may provide support to victims of cyber attacks.

Detective Chief Superintendent Cleary said, “Reporting incidents allows us to fully investigate this cybercrime and helps us identify attacker trends and methods so we can provide cybersecurity and network protection advice to the public and the business sector.”

Meanwhile, the director of Ibec’s Small Firms Association, Sven Spollen-Behrens, said the latest warning “consistent with what we’re hearing from our members, who are increasingly concerned about the cybercrime threat.”

“The advice provided is very helpful and we look forward to working with authorities to ensure our members have the right protective measures in place to defend against these attacks,” he added. Irish companies warned of increasing ransomware threat

Fry Electronics Team

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