Ireland 'is in the firing line for a major cyber attack' - security expert

Dublin Info Sec 2016 conference gets underway

Sean Duffy and Louise Kelly

Published 15/11/2016 | 10:35

Joseph Carson speaking at Dublin the Info Sec 2016 Confrence in the RDS. (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
Joseph Carson speaking at Dublin the Info Sec 2016 Confrence in the RDS. (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
Joseph Carson speaking at the Dublin Info Sec 2016 Confrence in the RDS. (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
Joseph Carson speaking at the Dublin Info Sec 2016 Confrence in the RDS. (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
Joseph Carson speaking at the Dublin Info Sec 2016 Confrence in the RDS. (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
Joseph Carson speaking at the Dublin Info Sec 2016 Confrence in the RDS. (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
Joseph Carson speaking at the Dublin Info Sec 2016 Confrence in the RDS. (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
(Stock photo)

Ireland faces threats to its cyber security from external operators given its role as a key gateway for US and EU trade.

  • Go To

Joseph Carson, a cyber security strategist at Thycotic, told the Dublin Info Sec 2016 conference at Dublin's RDS that Ireland's position as a key location in the  international supply chain between the EU and the US made the country a strong target for forces who were intent on disrupting trade between the two trading areas.

Mr Carson cast his warning out to the crowd at Ireland's first annual cyber security conference held at the RDS.

"Ireland is at risk of cyber attack because of its key Atlantic position," he told the Dublin conference.

Joseph Carson speaking at the Dublin Info Sec 2016 Confrence in the RDS. (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
Joseph Carson speaking at the Dublin Info Sec 2016 Confrence in the RDS. (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)

"As Ireland is a key supply chain partner of US business, our country is 'in the firing line for a major cyber attack. 

"The best defence is to decentralise. It's important to look at decentralisation to protect Ireland against a DDOS attack."

Mr Carson used the example of Estonia, a country which has been the forefront of migrating to a digital society. While the country made the rapid transformation to the digital society in the early years of the 21st century, the level of state information available online made the country vulnerable to attacks from outside agents. 

Mr Carson insisted that the best way to combat the threat of cyber attacks was to build digital alliances with foreign allies, which mitigates the chances of an individual country becoming compromised completely.

Joseph Carson speaking at the Dublin Info Sec 2016 Confrence in the RDS. (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
Joseph Carson speaking at the Dublin Info Sec 2016 Confrence in the RDS. (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)

Read more: Ten best quotes (from the experts) at Dublin Info Sec 2016

Mr Carson said that while cyber terrorists were unlikely to target Irish government bodies specifically, firms operating within the country were likely to come under attack in the coming years.

"Food supplies, fuel, utilities, medical services are all potentially at risk from major cyber war," he told the conference.

He added; "You have to be careful about the remedial response to these cyber attacks - the action taken can cause further problems."

Joseph Carson speaking at the Dublin Info Sec 2016 Confrence in the RDS. (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
Joseph Carson speaking at the Dublin Info Sec 2016 Confrence in the RDS. (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)

The cyber threat landscape is constantly shifting and - against that backdrop - a number of field experts have gathered to speak on a number of related topics.

Virtual Payments security, artificial intelligence, machine learning and robots, ransomware and the Internet of things are just some of the topics under discussion.

Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald opened the conference and heralded the discussion and said that there were currently 'huge challenges' in the justice area on the issue of cyber security.

Ms Fitzgerald told conference delegates that a dedicated Garda crime unit has been established and that 'we all need to work together' to protect against attacks.