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Irish firm working on major State projects attacked by suspected Russian hackers

The July incident was promptly reported to authorities and no data has so far been leaked online.

Image: Alamy Stock Photo

AN IRISH COMPANY which has contracts for several State infrastructure projects suffered a cyber attack last month by suspected Russian-based hackers.

It is understood that the firm was targeted by cyber criminals in a malware ransom incident in the middle of July this year. 

The hackers are believed to have used a REvil-style malware to infiltrate the company’s systems – it is not known how this was delivered but is likely to have been in an email.

Sources have said that the company immediately contacted authorities, including garda cyber experts who began working with the firm. 

It is thought the attack is a criminal effort to hold data to ransom rather than a broader attack on Irish infrastructure. 

While the investigation is still ongoing it is not believed that any stolen data has emerged online. A spokesperson for the company targeted by the attempt told The Journal that they had no comment to make.

The Data Protection Commission confirmed that it received a “breach notification on 12 July”. It told The Journal: “The matter is currently being assessed.”

An Garda Síochána have been asked for comment on this latest incident. 

The company involved, when contacted by The Journal, refused to comment.

The attack is reminiscent of the HSE cyber hack in which suspected Russian-backed criminal group shut down the Irish health service.

Just last week the British National Health Service admitted that they had suffered a software shutdown after a similar assault on 4 August. 

In February, a major report on the Defence Forces warned that Ireland should strengthen military intelligence and cyber capabilities to counter espionage threats.

The report recommended an additional 100 cyber defence specialists be recruited to the Defence Forces. 

Paul Farrell, who retired as IBM Ireland’s General Manager last year, was a captain in the Irish Defence Forces before joining the international IT firm, warned of the shortfall in Irish cyber defences.

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