Ireland And Its Evolving Cybersecurity Issues
Ireland in 2018 experienced a huge decline of malware infection, most especially the lesser cases of ransomware compared to 2017. The European country of almost 5 million people is mirroring the global trend of cybersecurity issues, as cybercriminals are heavily transitioning from the disruptive and destructive ransomware to a silent yet very profitable phishing and cryptojacking. Ireland recorded in 2018 just 1.26% of monthly infection rate, which is one of the lowest in the European region and one of the lowest globally.
This is a sharp contrast to 2017 when millions of computers worldwide were heavily infected by ransomware, more particularly the likes of WannaCry and NoPetya. Cryptojacking is easy to deploy and very difficult to detect, as it is basically a program that consumes CPU/GPU resources like the rest of the programs in a computing device. But the consumed CPU/GPU resources does not produce a tangible output like a typical benign program but rather designed to compute for crypto-hashes in the attempt to mine cryptocurrency.
“While we have seen a welcome drop in ransomware and malware attacks, it would be a mistake to assume the level of the cyber threat to Irish organizations has also decreased. We are seeing major behavioral change amongst criminal hackers, who want access to a victim’s computer and an organization’s network to access data, but also use their computing power to mine for cryptocurrency. This is about playing the long game and exploiting people’s lack of training and understanding when it comes to cybercrime. Microsoft’s analysts predict phishing will continue to be an issue for the foreseeable future for that reason,” explained Des Ryan, Microsoft Ireland’s Solutions Director.
To add insult to injury, Microsoft underscored that many private and public entities in the country lack adequate staff training when it comes to cybersecurity. The vulnerable companies also practice lax IT security protocols, a trait that opens an opportunity for something that goes wrong to grow exponentially.
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Kevin Jones, Ph.D., is a research associate and a Cyber Security Author with experience in Penetration Testing, Vulnerability Assessments, Monitoring solutions, Surveillance and Offensive technologies etc. Currently, he is a freelance writer on latest security news and other happenings. He has authored numerous articles and exploits which can be found on popular sites like hackercombat.com and others.