Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Technology James Lawless TD has warned that Ireland is falling behind in its efforts to protect itself from cyber criminals and State sponsored cyber-warfare.

Deputy Lawless made the comments after dozens of Irish public service websites were amongst those affected by a cyber-attack aimed at covertly mining crypto-currencies on behalf of a criminal organisation.

Deputy Lawless said, “The Government isn’t treating cyber-security with the seriousness that it deserves. Ireland’s cyber-security capabilities are woefully inadequate. The National Cyber Security Centre is grossly under-resourced and it is unable to carry out the task that it was established to do. The National Cyber Security Strategy expired last year and we are still waiting for a replacement. Ireland’s cyber-security strategy is rudderless and lacking in direction.

“This is an extremely serious matter that deserves top priority from the Government. Ireland currently attracts a huge amount of foreign direct investment from companies operating in the Internet industry. These companies expect the networks they operate on to be secure and robustly protected by the Government against cyber-attacks orchestrated by criminals and State actors. These companies simply will not continue investing in Ireland if our cyber-security capabilities do not develop in the years ahead. Tens of thousands of jobs are at stake here.

“All EU member States, including Ireland, must have the National Information Security Directive in place by May 2018. This directive aims to boost the overall level of cyber-security across the EU. However no legislation has been published by the Government to deal with this. It seems no one in Government is taking responsibility for the cyber-security of our State.

“Other countries are investing significant amounts of resources in their cyber-security capabilities. Ireland is falling behind the curve in this regard.

“Failure to invest in cyber-security now could result in a situation arising in the future where network connectivity is lost for days on end. This will cause significant hardship for people who rely on the Internet, and multinational companies won’t be long abandoning Ireland in favour of countries which take their cyber-security seriously,” concluded Deputy Lawless.