Saturday 25 November 2017

Garda IT system restored following hacking

The cyber attack forced IT staff to shut down a number of systems, causing disruption across the Garda network (stock photo)
The cyber attack forced IT staff to shut down a number of systems, causing disruption across the Garda network (stock photo)

Martin Grant

Garda computer systems were restored last night after a malicious cyber attack was discovered on their internal network.

A malware threat that occurred last Thursday forced garda IT staff to shut down a number of systems across the organisation.

The threat caused significant disruption across the garda network, including some gardaí being unable to access their official email accounts.

Although detectives from the computer crime unit are conducting an investigation to find the source of the attack, garda bosses last night confirmed the issue has been resolved.

"An Garda Síochána can confirm that normal service to Garda systems was restored," a spokesman said.

"As a precaution, heightened security measures have been put in place.

"Working with security experts the threat was identified and an appropriate solution was implemented across all Garda Information and Communications Technology (ICT) system."

The spokesman added that access to certain 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," said the spokesman.

Intelligence reports, as well as the personal information of victims of crime - who are referred to as an 'injured party' - are stored on the Garda Pulse system, while forensic and DNA evidence are also stored electronically.

The force also moved to reassure any fears that sensitive documents were hacked as part of the malware threat.

The gardaí said that "no data was compromised" and that neither the Pulse system or garda website was affected.

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 more than 16,500 users, the ICT section deals with the management of emergency 999 calls, case management and character vetting.

The force's IT systems have been criticised by the Garda Inspectorate, with the independent body describing the systems as decades out of date.

In its 2015 report, the Inspectorate emphasised the need for "major upgrades" in the Garda IT system.

Irish Independent

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