Sunday 20 January 2019

Central Bank warns firms that attacks by hackers are growing harder to detect

Gerry Cross
Gerry Cross

Cyber attacks are getting "more sophisticated, more targeted and progressively more difficult to detect", top bankers have been warned by the Central Bank.

Speaking as UK lender Tesco Money this week scrambled to cope with an attack that saw hackers steal funds from 20,000 of its customers' acc- ounts, Dame Street's director of policy and risk, Gerry Cross, warned that financial institutions here are not doing enough to minimise the potential impact of an IT failure on their business, reputations and the wider financial system.

The risk of consumers being hit due to IT and cyber security incidents is a particular concern, he said.

The warning comes ahead of a major conference on cyber security, Dublin Info Sec 2016, in the RDS next Tuesday.

Cyber crimes including data theft and fraud are now considered one of the top 10 business risks. As the biggest finance houses do more to protect themselves, there is evidence that cyber criminals are moving down the business food chain and targeting small and medium-sized firms, he said.


Firms have to stop seeing cyber security risk as an IT or process problem and regard it as a people problem and an issue that board members and senior managers must be on top of.

The Tesco case is the latest in a series of high-profile attacks that have pushed the issue to the top of the global agenda.

Last month saw unprecedented attacks on digital giants including Twitter, PayPal, Spotify and US tech provider Dyn, with hackers unleashing a complex attack through devices such as webcams and digital recorders in a stunning breach of global internet stability.

Recent months also saw the theft of Hillary Clinton's emails during her presidential bid.

The Central Bank said it is moving to lift standards, including publishing formal guidance that is now being used to assess firms' performance at cyber defence.

Government and banking officials will be among those attending Infosec 2016, a cyber security conference taking place in Dublin next week.

New speakers have been added including Pavel Gladyshev, director at UCD's Digital Forensics Lab, who will be bringing his insights and experience in digital forensics and investigation to Ireland's leading cyber security event.

Other speakers include WikiLeaks journalist Sarah Harrison and cyber psychologist Dr Mary Aiken.

The conference is an Independent News and Media event. Attendees are eligible for up to eight CPE credits.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.independent.ie/infosec2016.

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