Friday 24 November 2017

Garda probe into credit card scam to go international

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan admitted today that the international dimension had made  their inquiries into Ireland's biggest hacking crime more complex and presented a major challenge to the force. Photo: Getty Images
Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan admitted today that the international dimension had made  their inquiries into Ireland's biggest hacking crime more complex and presented a major challenge to the force. Photo: Getty Images

Tom Brady, Security Editor

A GARDA investigation into the credit card scam involving at least 70,000 Irish customers of a county Clare based travel firm has been extended internationally.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan admitted today that the international dimension had made  their inquiries into Ireland's biggest hacking crime more complex and presented a major challenge to the force.

But he acknowledged that the gardai were no different to other police forces involved in investigating computer crime and every effort was being made to find those responsible for the scam.

Officers from the Garda national fraud bureau, backed up by personnel from the computer crime unit, were spearheading the criminal investigation.

But the force would also work closely with the office of theData Protection Commissioner, Billy Hawkes.

Mr Callinan advised credit card users to be vigilant with their personal details and said there was also an onus on the company involved to protect that data.

He said it was up to those, who believed their credit cards had been compromised as a result of the online attack on the Loyaltybuild firm, to determine whether they should now destroy their cards and seek replacements.

The commissioner was speaking at the force's six monthly meeting of his senior management at the Garda training college in Templemore.

Mr Callinan also said he was disappointed to read what purported to be leaks of reports prepared for Children Commissioner Emily Logan into the State's handling of two cases in which children had been removed temporarily from Roma families in Tallaght, Co Dublin, and in Athlone, Co Westmeath.

And he described some of the leaks as inaccurate.

But he said he would not comment on the actions taken by gardai in the two cases until Ms Logan had completed her findings.

He had read leaks criticising the gardai but believed it would not be appropriate to respond to the leaks at this stage because of  the investigation.

However, he said he would happy to comment after the report had been finalised.

He said his two-day conference would include a review of the garda strategies and tactics in tackling crime but pointed out they had achieved a large number of successes in the recent part.

There were continuing concerns about some crime categories including thefts from shops and thefts from the person but he noted their successes in the past 18 months through Operation Fiacla in their crackdown on gangs involved in burglaries nationwide.

He said there were 25 organised crime gangs active in the State and pointed out that offences involving those gangs often resulted in lengthy investigations to get suspects before the courts and secure convictions.

Mr Callinan also declined to comment on the progress being made in the examination by a superintendent of the issues surrounding the appearance of a member of the Garda national drugs unit in RTE's Love/Hate crime series.

He said he had no difficulties with gardai becoming involved in drama societies but there were some issues surrounding this particular show and it would not be appropriate to comment further until he had received a report from the superintendent.

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