Cyber Security Must Be Considered a ‘High Priority’ Issue Warns Industry Expert

Cyber security should now be considered a high priority issue according to a leading industry expert.

Speaking at a series of business events organised by Danske Bank, David Crozier, head of strategic partnership and engagement at Queen’s University Belfast’s Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT) told over 200 business representatives said the threat must be treated with the utmost seriousness.

“In the last few years, we have seen attacks becoming more targeted and professional in their approach, aided by machine learning and Artificial Intelligence. Today, criminals do their homework and build up well researched pictures of the people and companies they are going to attack,” Mr Crozier said.

“There is still a degree of apathy in some businesses I speak to who believe that because they are a small Northern Ireland business or charity and not a national or international company, like Talk Talk for example, that they are not of interest to hackers. That is not the case. The nature of these attacks evolves so quickly and involves a range of weapons, including spyware, ransomware and impersonation techniques. It presents a challenge that experts are having to work hard to stay on top of.”

Mr Crozier advised businesses to stop thinking of cyber security as an issue that should only concern the IT department, rather it needs to involve everyone from board level to administration staff.

“You can’t stop cyber crime, but you can make it harder for criminals to target your business. We advise businesses to invest time in skills and training so that employees can recognise and identify risks. We want businesses to demand more from their security suppliers and ask for updates regularly on the measures they are taking to stay ahead.”

Paul Brown, fraud manager from Danske Bank added: “In the event of an attack or an attempted attack, time is of the essence. We would encourage businesses to report any attacks or attempted attacks to the police and also to their bank.”