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26/10/2021

Gardaí investigating ransomware attacks against Donegal companies

Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau investigating attack on one large company in the county

Gardaí issue online shopping warning ahead of Christmas rush

Donegal companies urged to give cybersecurity 'the due diligence that it requires'

Gardaí from the Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau are investigating two incidents of ransomware attacks on companies in Donegal.

Detective Chief Superintendent Paul Cleary, head of the bureau, said one of the attacks was on a large company in the county in recent weeks.

Speaking at a meeting of the Donegal Joint Policing Committee, he said he could not go into the details of the incidents as the investigations are ongoing.

He said it is frustrating that some big companies do not give cybersecurity “the due diligence that it requires”.

“I would always say to these companies, treat it as an investment, not an overhead,” he said.

He said some of the big companies "are like a leaky sieve” and companies face being crippled over the failure to address cybersecurity properly. 

There is a lack of reporting of cybercrime incidents from businesses for commercial reasons as they are reluctant to admit that the data of customers may have been compromised, he said.

“They are very slow to report cybercrime,” he said.

Reporting is crucial as it allows gardaí to take samples of the software involved, he said. Such attacks put jobs and livelihoods at risk, he said.

Detective chief superintendent Cleary said 28 gardaí in Donegal have been trained as digital first responders to deal with reports of cyberbullying and cyber scams.

He said that in the Donegal and Sligo Garda divisions, there have been 85 incidents of cybersecurity crime including 59 involving phishing scams, eight cases of email compromises, two cases of romance scams, three cases of offences against computer systems and 13 cases of child sexual abuse material.

A major campaign highlighting cybersecurity in the county by the joint policing committee is being launched next month.

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