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The Government is thinking up new ways to stop you from being hacked

Experts say the public needs protection against ‘petty’ cybercrimes.

Image: hack via Shutterstock

BUSINESSES WILL SOON be issued with new Government guidelines on how to stop themselves from falling victim to cybercrime.

Concerns surrounding cybersecurity have come to the fore in recent months after attacks on Sony, allegedly by North Korea, and widespread hacks by the so-called Islamic State.

Experts say protection is still needed for less high-profile targets, who could fall victim to ‘petty’ cybercriminals.

The Department of Communications in 2012 launched a Make-IT-Secure” campaign that aims to inform SMEs on steps they can take to improve their own cyber security. This was part of a wider campaign for protection against attacks.

In response to a parliamentary question from Fianna Fáil’s Michael McGrath, Minister Alex White said:

In 2011, the Government approved the establishment of a Computer Security and Incident Response Team (CSIRT-IE) in my Department and this team has since been working across Government to secure government systems and information.

“Cyber security experts in my Department participate in regular national, EU and international emergency response exercises, as well as providing expert advise to Government Departments and industry stakeholders on individual cyber attacks.”

Eircom Jobs Announcements Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Alex White Source: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

White added that his Department is now in the final stages of developing a new cyber security strategy, and will encourage businesses to keep their networks, devices, and information secure.

However, a sea-change in global attitudes towards this kind of crime could be needed.

Professor Joe Carthy, Director of the UCD Centre for Cybersecurity and Cybercrime Investigation, noted the currently businesses are not checked to ensure they have sufficient security measures in place to protect customers data, ranging from personal details to financial transactions.

“Decades ago when cars were less common, you could simply get a license and start driving,” he said, “Now, years later, we have developed a range of legislation to ensure people aren’t parking everywhere and driving on the wrong side of the road at whatever speed they want.”

In the computing world, we haven’t got to that stage. We need to be thinking more along those lines in terms of computer security.

Carthy said the gardaí are one of the best police forces in Europe in terms of combating cybercrime, but it’s something that is difficult to tackle due to attacks from other countries, and a lack of man-power to stop small cases of crime.

He noted that some forces have a limit on how much money is lost before they will investigate, meaning that some robberies involving hundreds of money could be considered ‘petty’.

The security expert stressed any steps taken by Government to ensure that anyone who commits a cybercrime is held accountable must be balanced with the need to protect free speech.

It’s a great place for free speech, and so that must be protected, but in a way that is acceptable in the eyes of reasonable people.

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Nicky Ryan

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