2,000 Eir customers hacked as 130,000 more put at risk
Eir has said up to 130,000 of its broadband customers may be at risk from hackers because of a weakness in the equipment provided to householders.
The company said that a security vulnerability has emerged in a number of modems that come with basic broadband packages for those who do not have access to fibre or 'eFibre' services.
According to a company spokesman, 2,000 customers have already been hacked. However, the spokesman said there was "no evidence" of any data loss or lasting damage from those who had been hacked. Eir has 'patched', or fixed, the issue in 97pc of those affected, the spokesman said.
The remaining unpatched broadband users are currently being contacted.
The devices affected are manufactured by Zyxel and go by the model numbers D1000 and P-660HN-T1A.
The company spokesman said that Eir was informed two weeks ago about the vulnerability and immediately began to fix the modems remotely. However, last Thursday engineers discovered that almost 2,000 of the modems had been breached "by a third party".
Eir immediately began to forcibly reset the modems remotely and to contact the 2,000 households affected.
He said the hacking attack might have been part of a wider attempt to take over the modems in advance of a so-called 'botnet' attack. Botnet attacks are sometimes used to take down high-profile websites, such as those of banks or government offices.
A spokeswoman for Eir's biggest landline broadband rival, Vodafone, said the company was monitoring the situation.
Eir is the country's largest broadband provider, with 443,000 retail broadband customers.
The Eir spokesman said that the incident has been reported to the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner, An Garda Síochána and to the Communications Regulator (ComReg).
Eir is recommending that all those with Zyxel D1000 or P-660HN-T1A modems should reset them and has set up a web page - www.eir.ie/modemreset - for step-by-step instructions or its customer care line, 1901.