'Normal service' returned to Garda systems after cyber attack

NewsBy Sunday World
Gardaí said no data was compromised as a result of the attack.
Gardaí said no data was compromised as a result of the attack.

Confidential and highly sensitive Garda intelligence systems were not compromised as a result of the attacks and the threat has now been identified, a statement insisted on Monday.

IT staff working for An Garda Síochana were forced to shut down a number of the organisation's systems following the attack, with reports suggesting some Gardaí were also unable to access their email accounts. 

Gardaí said in a statement on Monday that access to certain ICT systems was "temporarily removed" for all users across the organisation. 

"Any security risks to the Garda ICT systems are treated with the highest importance and standard security protocols are implemented," the statement said. 

"Working with security experts,  the threat was identified and an appropriate solution was implemented across all Garda ICT systems," the statement continued. 

Gardaí confirmed heightened security measures were now in place as a precaution, while the Pulse database and the Garda website were said to have been unaffected by the incident. 

"An Garda Síochána’s Computer Crime Unit is continuing its investigation into the incident," the statement added.

The security breach was previously identified as a "zero-day" malware threat - a software vulnerability that can be used to affect and exploit computer programmes, data, and networks.
It has not yet been established if the security threat originated from within this jurisdiction or if the hack was made from outside Ireland.

The compromising of the garda network could be disastrous for the force, with thousands of sensitive documents stored on various networks and data servers.

Intelligence reports, as well as the personal information of crime victims are stored on the Garda Pulse system, while forensic and DNA evidence are also stored electronically.

The ICT office was established in July 2008 in an effort to bring all ICT functions within the organisation into a single integrated unit. Providing a service desk to over 16,500 users, the ICT section deals with the management of 999 emergency calls, case management and character vetting.

The gardai's IT systems have been criticised in recent times by the Garda Inspectorate, with the independent body saying systems were decades out of date. In its 2015 report, the Inspectorate emphasised the need for "major upgrades" within the garda IT system.

"The need for contractors may be required by an organisation investing in new technology and embarking on major upgrades of existing systems," the report stated.