Professor Thomas Newe
Associate Professor, Dept. Electronic & Computer Engineering,
University of Limerick & Principal Investigator Confirm Research Centre for Smart Manufacturing
A new solution to minimise cyberattack devastation is targeted at helping businesses — large and small — to build resilience in their networks and avert shutdowns.
Building cyber resilience into networks has never been more crucial. It can make all the difference between a company surviving a cyberattack to the total devastation of operations, completely crashing to a point of no revival.
The state of cybersecurity readiness in Ireland is not as high as it should be, given the fact that as a country, Ireland has a well-developed digital economy.
According to the World Economic Forum, Ireland’s investments in cybersecurity have lagged behind its digital development. There is now a massive gap between digital development (ranked 20th globally) versus cybersecurity (73rd).
Heavy cost of cyberattacks
A recent example of the havoc wreaked was the ransomware cyberattack on the Health Service Executive of Ireland resulting in all of its IT systems being shut down — costing the Irish economy some 100 million euros to recover.
Professor Thomas Newe, Principal Investigator with the CONFIRM Research Centre, says: “Still, not all HSE systems are fully back, and it’s expected that another 500 million euros will be spent on upgrading systems.”
Attacks can be particularly bad for manufacturers because it is going to stop production.
“It showed just how devastating it can be when a cyberattack happens. Such attacks can be particularly bad for manufacturers because it is going to stop production.”
With the post-Covid-19 rise in numbers of people working from home increasing the risk of cyberattacks, it has never been a more important time for businesses to build resilience into their networks.
Mobile testing unit
Professor Newe, who is also Associate Professor at the University of Limerick’s Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering, is involved in the research and development of a mobile testing service for CONFIRM — the Science Foundation Ireland Research (SFI) Centre for Smart Manufacturing.
“If you want to analyse the networks of a company, you need to be on-site as very few would give you remote access to them to perform tests, they need to see what you are doing,” explains Newe. “The AIRBUS CyberRange is a box on wheels that can test IT and OT (Operational Technology) systems. We are the first in Ireland to have this system, and it allows company data to stay on-site, in the company.”
The system will look for points of attack in your systems, from the need for software updates to network configuration issues, thereby enabling solutions to be provided to build resilience against cyberattacks.
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