Cyber crime cost Irish economy €9.6bn in 2020

Ransomware attack cost more than doubles in seven-year period
Image: Stockfresh

24 November 2021

Grant Thornton Ireland has revealed the overall cost of cyber crime to the Irish economy in 2020 to be €9.6 billion. The Economic Cost of Cybercrime, published by Grant Thornton’s cyber security team, estimated the direct and indirect costs incurred due to cyber attacks against businesses, individuals, and government. The 2020 research built on a similar report by Grant Thornton from 2014, which noted an overall cost to the economy of €630 million due to cyber crime, a figure dwarfed by the latest data.  

Phishing, ransomware, operational technology-focused attacks, and credit and debit card fraud all increased significantly in recent years. Ransomware saw the biggest growth, accounting for €2 billion in losses to the economy, with the costs split across direct costs such as ransoms paid and indirect costs such as infrastructure and IT bills and reputational damage incurred through public discussion and media coverage.

The report also noted a 100% increase in computer viruses and a 20% increase in phishing attacks, where fraudulent communications purporting to be from reputable sources were sent to businesses and consumers. This comes as credit and debit card fraud accounted for losses of €12 million.




Head of cyber security services at Grant Thornton Ireland Mike Harris said: “We are all very much aware of the risk of cyber crime to businesses and indeed, to consumers, but as a relatively new phenomenon that has emerged in the past decade or so, many businesses and individuals are still grappling with how to insulate against this threat.

“Cyber criminals are innovative and opportunistic. This means we also need to be innovative in how we mitigate against potential cyber attack risks. Ransomware attacks, for example, were once targeted mainly at consumers but we now know businesses, organisations and governments are the main targets for these types of crimes.

“Cyber attacks, more generally, have huge consequences to balance sheets, reputation, and data protection, and this report highlights that the frequency of these attacks is growing rapidly.”

The past year has demonstrated huge changes and rapid digital transformation for Irish businesses and their employees across the country. Cyber criminals saw these changes as an opportunity to attack businesses, organisations and agencies in the midst of this transformation.

TechCentral Reporters

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