According to Communications Minister Eamon Ryan, cyber attacks on the Irish State are “commonplace” and happen on a regular basis, despite the country’s main cybersecurity role being unfilled for over a year due to low pay.
“This is very commonplace unfortunately…our systems are always under attack,” said Ryan.
Despite these apparently regular attacks, the job of the person in charge of stopping them has been vacant for over a year.
— Conor Hogarty (@ConorHogarty) May 17, 2021
The comment was made following a major ransomware cyber attack on both the HSE and the Department of Health, believed to be carried out by an eastern European criminal organisation.
Following the attack the Department of Health shut down all of its systems in an effort to safely restore its data.
“I am confident that their systems will probably be back sooner,” said Ryan, asserting that the attack on the Department “wasn’t as extensive” as the attack on the HSE.
Ryan added that the attack on the Department was “intercepted earlier” and there is “no sense of any other agencies being affected” so far.
However, the Department of Social Protection has temporarily shut off its communication channels with the HSE as a safety precaution, and has employed cyber defence systems to respond to any further attacks.