Cybercrime is the number one threat when it comes to financial crime in Ireland

Hacking, phishing, online scams, and other variations of cybercrime are thought to be the most prevalent financial crimes in Ireland, as found in a new survey by the Compliance Institute, which polled 230 compliance professionals working primarily in Irish financial services organisations nationwide.

When asked what they consider to be the most prevalent financial crime in Ireland, respondents to the Compliance Institute Financial Crime answered as follows:

Cybercrime (hacking, phishing, online scams)                                                      34%
Tax evasion                                                                                                                     21%
Fraud                                                                                                                                 21%
Money laundering                                                                                                           19%
Bribery and corruption                                                                                                    4%
Insider trading                                                                                                                    1%

Michael Kavanagh, CEO of the Compliance Institute commented on the findings:

“While financial crimes from tax evasion to insider trading could be classed as the “traditional” criminal pursuits, cybercrime is more new-age and is developing and advancing at a pace so fast that organisations and legislators cannot keep up.

From the mid-term review of the 2019-2024 Cyber Security Strategy launched in the middle of 2023, we learned of the Government’s plans to create a national anti-ransomware organisation and offer cash subsidies to small businesses to help fight cybersecurity threats. The timelines for this are unclear, but there’s no doubt that the move would be laudable and welcomed with open arms by many businesses that continue to be plagued by ransomware attacks.

These attacks can have catastrophic consequences not just for those whom they are perpetrated against, but for the wider public. We only have to look at the devastation that was caused to patients following the 2021 hacking of the HSE to understand the severity of the crimes”.

Fraud

Mr. Kavanagh continued,

“Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) stats show fraudsters stole nearly €85 million (€84.6m) through frauds and scams in 2022, an increase of 8.8% on 2021.

As a New Year commences, there’s a real concern that we will see an uptick in these figures”.

Mr. Kavanagh concluded,

“Ireland is now Europe’s largest data hosting cluster, putting the need for elevated cybercrime and data protection systems into sharp focus.

Regulators in Ireland, and around the world, are constantly updating and issuing new guidance to firms in response to emerging cyber security issues, such as fake documentation and the reliability of information sources.

Regulators need to ask themselves how they can regulate and supervise without stifling innovation. Businesses and organisations need to ask how can they best prepare and respond, and the general public also needs to know what measures they can take to protect themselves”.

See more stories here.