Business Technology

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Eircom forced to shut email services after hacking breach

Eircom Group Headquarters
Eircom Group Headquarters
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

An attempt by hackers to take over Eircom's computers led to the company temporarily shutting down email services to 350,000 people yesterday.

The security breach was part of what Eircom suspects was a 'denial of service' attack, where hackers use a company's computers to launch a bigger attack on another, unspecified, target.

A spokesman for Eircom said it was not aware that any of its customers' personal data was stolen or compromised. However, the company is urging its 350,000 email users to change their passwords.

"We detected an intrusion on the perimeter of our email service," said the company spokesman. "In accordance with our security procedures and industry best practice, we took immediate steps to lock down our email service and eliminate any threat to our 350,000 email users. As a precaution, we have alerted relevant bodies including the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner."

The spokesman said the breach was initially detected on Tuesday.


Its decision to suspend email services left users without access to daily communications until late yesterday evening.

"At this time, there is no evidence to suggest any impact to other Eircom systems or services including customer data," said the spokesman.

"Our investigations will continue into the cause of the intrusion."

Denial of service attacks are common among so-called 'hacktivist' organisations. It works by flooding a targeted website with far more traffic than it can handle, causing the site to crash.

A statement from the company last night said: "All email users have had their access fully restored following a detected intrusion.

"At this time, there is no evidence to suggest any impact to other eircom systems or services including customer data. In line with industry best practice, we strongly recommend that customers change their email account passwords today and on a regular basis. We are very sorry that this has caused a significant inconvenience to users of our email service."

Irish Independent

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