Monday 26 September 2016

Multiple government websites down as servers under 'DDoS attack'

Published 22/01/2016 | 11:42

A number of government sites - including the CSO website - is down as a result of the issue (stock)
A number of government sites - including the CSO website - is down as a result of the issue (stock)

A number of government-related and public sector websites were knocked offline by an apparent cyber attack this morning.

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Websites including those of the Central Statistics Office, The Department Of Justice and the Courts Service became unavailable for approximately an hour.

"We are currently experiencing what appears to be a DDoS attack on Government infrastructure so the CSO website is down for the moment," said a statement from the Central Statistics Office at 11.30am.

The websites became accessible again after midday.

A statement from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform said that the cyber attacks had hit several government-related websites.

“A number of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are currently targeting Government Infrastructure,” said a spokesman for the department. “These attacks have resulted in periodic disruption that has resulted in a number of Government websites becoming unavailable to the public. We have implemented our contingency plans which are designed to minimise this disruption. As with all DDoS attacks it is not possible to identify the exact source of the attack.”

A Distributed Denial Of Service (DDoS) attack is where a website is overwhelmed by too many online requests at once. It is typically used by organisations such as Anonymous, the international activist group that targets political, financial and terrorist organisations.

DDoS attacks rarely involve theft of data or other hacking activities.

On Wednesday, the website of the National Lottery was hit with a similar attack and was unavailable for two hours.

"Indications are that technical issues were as a result of a DDoS attack affecting our communications networks," said Lotto operator Premier Lotteries Ireland at the time.

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