State must invest further on cyber security protections - multinational sector

Ireland’s reputation has not been undermined by HSE cyber attack, says US chamber

Mark Redmond, chief executive of the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland said  he did not believe cyber attack had undermined the country’s reputation abroad. File Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Mark Redmond, chief executive of the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland said he did not believe cyber attack had undermined the country’s reputation abroad. File Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

 

The Government must invest in infrastructure to protect against further cyber attacks similar to the data breaches of the health service, representatives of the multinational sector have said.

The sector has said that it does not believe that Ireland’s reputation as a hub for international investment has been damaged by the breaches of the HSE and the Department of Health.

The cyber attack has generated headlines worldwide with reports of the breach of the HSE’s IT and patient record systems appearing in the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times.

Concerns have been expressed about the State’s level of investment in protections against the cyber attacks given that the National Cyber Security Centre, which advises Government on cyber threats, has a annual budget of just €5 million, no dedicated premises and no director.

Mark Redmond, chief executive of the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland, a representative group for many US companies operating in the State, said that while the cyber attack had been “very difficult and disruptive” for the health system, he did not believe it undermined the country’s reputation abroad.

“Cyber attacks such as this present a real and significant threat to all organisations and underline the need to remain vigilant and to be prepared to deal quickly with such an attack,” he said.

Threats

Mr Redmond said that every public and private sector organisation faces these threats.

“It is important that Ireland continues to be on high alert for such attacks, that we continue to invest in the skills and infrastructure needed in both the public and private sector to guard against such attacks and we continue to collaborate internationally on best practice,” he said.

A spokesman for the IDA, the State agency responsible for inward investment, said that cyber security was an international issue – “not one that respects borders” - and that all states and companies have to deal with the threat.

“It is too early to comment on the nature of the HSE attack but it is a reminder to us all that the risks need to be managed,” he said.

Bernard Mallee, director of communications and advocacy for the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association, the Big Pharma representative group, said it was “hard to say what impact, if any,” the attack would have on Ireland’s “foreign direct investment proposition.”

“The world is increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks. We need to ensure our defence systems are robust,” he said.