Cybersecurity should be top of the agenda for all companies, and Ireland needs to be especially vigilant because so many multinationals have their headquarters here, according to Mikko Hypponen, the keynote speaker at Dublin Information Sec 2018.
Hypponen is an international expert on computer security and privacy issues and is credited with tracking down the authors of the very first PC virus. He is chief research officer at F-Secure.
Dublin Information Sec 2018, Ireland’s cybersecurity conference, takes place at the RDS on October 15 for the third year running.
Speaking ahead of the conference, Hypponen highlighted Ireland’s growing role as a European headquarters for multinationals and the importance of vigilance as a result.
“Cybersecurity is especially important in Ireland, as so many global technology companies have their European operations based there,” he told the Sunday Independent.
“Today, every company is a software company.”
He added that organisations need to focus on detecting breaches and responding to them, not just keeping attackers out of networks.
“Today, cybersecurity is more important than ever. It should be a permanent topic on the board meeting agendas of any large companies,” he said.
“How many of the Fortune 500 companies are hacked right now? Well, 500,” he added.
Themes that will be addressed at the conference range from regulation, including a General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) health check, to the impact of Brexit as well as ways to improve your organisation’s security health, from cloud to Saas, and the emerging mass security problems as well as the risks and the threats to your business.
According to the latest ‘Global CEO Outlook’ from international consulting firm KPMG, US chief executives, with whom digital agendas rank high, list cybersecurity as the biggest risk when it comes to business growth.
The international survey also showed that chief executives are concerned by the risks posed by disruptive technology.
Closer to home, a recent report from PwC on economic crime and fraud showed more than 10pc of Irish businesses that have been hit by cyber criminals lost more than €4m each in the past two years as a result of the attacks.
It found half of Irish companies had been victims of economic crime within the past two years – up from 34pc in 2016 and 26pc in 2010.
The findings are part of a global PwC survey that included 7,200 participants in 123 countries. In Ireland, 77 firms took part and PwC said the respondents represented all key industries and sectors.
The survey revealed cyber crime was the top economic crime here, having overtaken asset misappropriation for the first time.
Phishing – where fraudulent emails are used to lure unsuspecting recipients into revealing data, such as bank or credit card details, from which money is then stolen – was the most prominent technique for targeted cyber attacks (66pc of cases), followed by malware in 56pc of cases.
The conference will also address the recently introduced GDPR, the EU legal framework that establishes guidelines for the collection and processing of personal information of individuals in member states.
The deadline for compliance was May 25 and while it is early days in terms of how businesses are adapting to the new rules, research commissioned by cloud aggregator and IT distributor MicroWarehouse showed that the most common action taken by firms post the GDPR is amendments to data breach procedures where one third of respondents to the survey had made this move.
It also showed that larger firms spent more money and resources on ensuring their firms were GDPR compliant.
And, worryingly, despite growing concerns internationally against the backdrop of increasing numbers of state-sponsored attacks, cybersecurity is not high on the agenda of Irish boardrooms or management.
According to the MicroWarehouse survey, 35pc of firms said that the issue is never discussed at management level, while only 13pc said it was one of the main priorities for their organisation.
As cyber, data and security threats become more sophisticated, Dublin Information Sec 2018 is the ideal forum to future-proof your business.
Other speakers at Dublin Information Sec 2018 include Edward Burke, assistant professor in international relations at the University of Nottingham; Dr Ciaran Mc Mahon, director of the Institute of Cyber Security and academic psychologist; Maria Farrell, writer and tech policy consultant; Rahim Jina, co-founder Edgescan; Brian Honan, chief executive at BH Consulting; Michael Gubbins, Garda head of cybersecurity; James Chappell, co-founder Digital Shadows; Bill Buchanan, professor at Edinburgh Napier University, and Adrian Weckler, technology editor with Independent News & Media.
Dublin Information Sec 2018 is an Independent News & Media event. The conference takes place on October 15. For further information go to www.independent.ie/infosec18
Sunday Indo Business