World Economy

Cyprus Says Cybercrime a Huge Threat to Economy

Hackers are always on the lookout for holes in the system that they can exploit.
Hackers are always on the lookout for holes in the system that they can exploit.

Cybercrime constitutes a huge threat to states’ economies and it is critical to raise awareness, have the appropriate tools to shield national economies and to have a good level of cooperation between the stakeholders, a conference in Nicosia, Cyprus, on revealed Thursday.

The conference titled “How [email protected] is Your Business?” organized by the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Cyprus Neuroscience and Technology Institute, was addressed, among others, by Luigi Rebuffi, secretary general of European Cybersecurity Organization and George Michaelides, commissioner of Electronic Communications and Postal Regulation of Cyprus, reported.

It is estimated that 43% of cyber attacks target SMEs. Cybercrime costs are projected to reach €2 trillion ($2.15 trillion) by 2019 whereas 19% of business in the EU admitted that they have been attacked. Some 68% of funds are lost as a result of a cyber attack and these funds were declared unrecoverable. In 2015 there were 38% more security incidents detected than in 2014 while only 38% of global organizations claim they are prepared to handle a sophisticated cyberattack.

ECSO was founded six months ago with members from a wide variety of stakeholders such as large European companies, SMEs and Start-ups, users and operators, research centers and universities.

The EU will invest €450 million in this partnership. This initiative is expected to raise close to €1.8 billion of investment by 2020 in order to develop innovative and trusted cyber security solutions, products and services in Europe.

CCCI Secretary General Marios Tsiakkis told the conference that cyber security is a booming sector in the EU economy and beyond, underlining however that Europe and Cyprus have still a long way to go from being at the right level of preparedness to counter the rapidly evolving cyber threats.

Spam, ransomware, and phishing are currently the most common, and certainly the most egregious forms of cyber attacks that small businesses face. He said that a relevant study of the Institute of Directors in the UK, reveals that just 28% of cyber attacks are being reported to the police. At the same time only 57% have a formal strategy in place to protect themselves and only 20% hold insurance against an attack.

Tsiakkis said that what was alarming, especially for Cyprus, was that while big corporations get most of the media attention when it comes to cyber incidents, new information from global reports reveals that nearly half of all cybercrime targets are SMEs, giving hackers access to huge amounts of cash and information.

 “What we certainly know is that we urgently need a coordinated effort by all stakeholders to improve cyber resilience. Our aim is to create the necessary awareness among the business community, of the need to put cyber security issues very high on their agenda,” he said.

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