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Fieldfisher: Business leaders unprepared for AI cybersecurity challenges

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Irish business leaders do not feel prepared for the cybersecurity challenges posed by artificial intelligence, a survey by Fieldfisher suggests.

The firm’s survey of corporate legal advisors and senior leaders found that 54 per cent believe Ireland’s cybersecurity infrastructure is not secure against the threat of bad actors, while 45 per cent were unsure — none said they believed Ireland’s cybersecurity infrastructure was secure.

The survey also revealed that cybersecurity leaders across Irish businesses are concerned about the threats posed by the rapid developments made in the field of generative AI in recent years, with 45 per cent stating that their organisations do not feel prepared to deal with the challenges posed by AI and the remaining 54 per cent stating that they didn’t know or declining to answer.

Organisations say they are prepared for cyber breaches, although they are not entirely confident of their legal obligations.

Despite a more downbeat sentiment on the threat posed by AI and the current state of Ireland’s infrastructure security, respondents were otherwise generally positive about their companies’ preparedness for cybersecurity breaches, with 82 per cent stating that their organisations are prepared for a cybersecurity breach.

Less than a fifth (18 per cent) claimed they were fully prepared while 64 per cent stated they were somewhat prepared, compared with only a small minority of 18 per cent feeling that they were not prepared.

Almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of respondents stated that their organisations have a cybersecurity incident response plan (IRP) in place. The remaining respondents were split between those who did not have an IRP in place (18 per cent) and those who were unsure whether they had one (18 per cent).

However, only 45 per cent rated their ability to accurately identify their legal obligations following a breach as confident, while 36 per cent of respondents were neutral on the subject with 18 per cent stating they are not confident.

A slight majority (55 per cent) stated that they have been trained on how to communicate with regulatory bodies, and affected individuals, following a breach, with 36 per cent having not been trained, and nine per cent only ‘somewhat’ trained.

Ciara Burke, partner and head of Fieldfisher Ireland’s data protection and privacy group, said: “It’s very positive to see that most organisations feel prepared for cybersecurity breaches. However, most are understandably concerned about the threat of new developments in AI technology, which has the potential to enable more sophisticated attacks than previously seen.

“With cybersecurity incidents becoming ever more sophisticated, naturally anyone operating in this space will have concerns over the security of Ireland’s infrastructure against attacks from bad actors. It will be interesting to see how the country prepares to address these challenges in an ever-evolving regulatory landscape.”

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