Only 16% of Irish businesses believe that cybercrime is a major threat to their business with 22% of businesses surveyed suffering a cyber-attack in the last year. This startling figure was part of the findings from Grant Thornton’s International Business Report (IBR), a global survey of over 2,500 business leaders in 36 economies.

Over half (52%) of all Irish firms are putting themselves in the firing line with no comprehensive strategy to prevent digital crime compared to 37% in the UK and 43% globally. The Grant Thornton IBR survey also revealed that, globally, the sector most concerned by the threat of a cyber-attack is financial services, with 74% of businesses saying it is a threat. Transport firms are the least concerned – just 27% perceive it as a threat.

Commenting on the findings, Mike Harris, Partner of Cyber Security, Grant Thornton, said:

“Cybercrime dominates media coverage and Ireland is no different. Data breaches and  online fraud are impacting Irish organisations every day. Cybercrime is quickly becoming the crime mostly to impact Irish organisations and they need to respond effectively.  With computers being used to perpetrate fraud and cyber-attack they also hold the evidence. Businesses need to have a comprehensive strategy to prevent an attack, or to deal with one if it happens.”

Grant Thornton previously reported that cybercrime is costing the Irish economy almost €630 million per year. The largest cost to the Irish economy is that of traditional crimes becoming ‘cyber’ – crimes that were traditionally offline and are now online such as welfare and tax fraud, tax filing fraud – which stands at €257.74m.

Paul Jacobs, Partner, Head of Forensics and Investigation Services Ireland and Global Cyber Security leader, said:

“With data and its storage increasingly playing an important role in business, it has become a valuable commodity which is spawning the rise in cybercrime and the associated financial implications to organisations across Ireland.

“In an effort to assist firms identify breaches and investigate effectively, Grant Thornton offers a range of services including forensic accounting and expert witness reports, computer forensics, e-discovery, cyber security and asset tracing.”

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