Irish organisations warned about increased cyber attack risk

Experts warn public support for Ukraine could make Ireland a target for Russian supporters

Irish organisations need to be on high alert for a potential attack by Russian hackers, cybersecurity experts have warned, with State bodies particularly at risk.

The threat level for such a breach is believed to have increased in recent weeks, with Ireland thought to be a target due to its public support for Ukraine.

"Cyber attacks from Russia are nothing new. Ireland was the victim of an attack on state infrastructure just last year, when the HSE was crippled by Russia inspired Conti ransomware," said Raluca Saceanu, chief executive of cybersecurity company Smarttech247. "Now, as the war continues, it is increasingly likely that hackers will target infrastructure in countries that are staunchly opposed to the war. The aim will be to disrupt and punish those countries through cyber attacks. All organisations, both public and private, need to redouble their efforts to protect their systems."

Among the steps organisations should take are undertaking enhanced awareness training around possible phishing and social engineering attacks, have an updated incident response plan and enable multifactor authentication across systems. The cybersecurity company also recommended enforcing strong password rules for users, monitoring systems around the clock for unusual behaviour and scanning for unpatched systems.


"Russia has a history of sophisticated and heavily targeted cybersecurity attacks, but these are not the only ones we should be worried about," Ms Seceanu said. "Criminal underground gangs will leverage the momentum to launch their own targeted attacks, like in the case of the recent Lapsus$ attacks on Okta and Microsoft. We already know the high cost of a compromised system. It is incumbent on all organisations to act now to ensure their data is secured."

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist