Morning business news - April 18

Thursday 18 April 2013 11.07
Morning business news with Conor Brophy
Morning business news with Conor Brophy

SMEs NEED TO BEEF UP INTERNET SECURITY TO PREVENT WATER HOLE ATTACKS - Small businesses are increasingly finding themselves the target of attacks aimed at stealing their intellectual property and information on their customers by exploiting weaknesses in their internet security. Technology firm Symantec estimates cyber espionage attacks on small businesses were up 42% last year.

Dermot Williams, the managing director of IT security company Threatscape, says that while companies are getting good at defending the ''front door'' of their IT systems, cyber criminals are now targeting the ''water holes'' of a company. Likening it to a lion waiting in the long grass for its prey, Mr Williams says that cyber criminals will wait for the right time to ''pounce'' on an interest system. He says that small businesses should ensure that their IT systems are secure by protecting their passwords and by making sure that the software which drives their web site gets regular updates so as to avoid security holes.

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MORNING BRIEFS - Retailer Aldi says it will open a further 20 shops in Ireland over the next three years. Each is expected to employ 15 people. The announcement comes as the German discounter opens its 100th Irish outlet in Kilkenny today. According to the latest grocery market stats, which are compiled by market research firm Kantar, Aldi has a 6% share of the Irish grocery market.

*** The first formal bids for Bord Gáis Energy are expected to be tabled within weeks. Bord Gáis Energy is being sold to raise money for the state under the terms of the EU/IMF bailout programme. The company has confirmed it will circulate an information memorandum to potential bidders by the end of this month. The company is expected to go for upwards of €1 billion. Likely bidders include energy groups such as Centrica, which owns British Gas, Germany's Eon and the French utility company GDF Suez.

*** EBay has pared back its growth forecasts for the next three months, blaming weakness in the European economy. The online retail and payments company said traffic to its UK sites, one of its biggest earners, has been slower and Europe will be weaker over the second quarter than it had previously forecast. However, eBay is not adjusting its full year forecasts. Overnight it reported 14% growth in first quarter revenue to $3.8 billion. Earnings were also higher at $829m compared to $725m in the same period last year.