Senator Robbie Gallagher says that despite cybercrime growing at an unprecedented rate, the Government’s poor response leaves Ireland as a prime target for cyber hackers and criminals.
New figures released to Fianna Fáil indicate that there has been a decrease in numbers allocated to the Garda Cyber Crime Bureau. In 2016 there were 29 Gardaí tasked with policing cyber-crime, this has now fallen to 23.
“The theft of personal information, data breaches and the disabling of essential services are costly, cause huge inconvenience and can be dangerous. Particularly if health systems are affected. This is a threat that must be taken very seriously,” said Senator Gallagher.
“An entire chapter of the Garda Síochána’s Modernisation and Renewal Programme is devoted to Cyber Security and Cyber Crime and a specific pledge was made to expand capabilities in this area through increased investment in technology and people, however resources appear to be decreasing in the face of an increasing threat,” said Senator Gallagher.
“Fianna Fáil fought for improved Garda numbers and resources during its negotiations with Fine Gael and secured a commitment to increase Garda numbers to 15,000. I cannot understand how more new recruits have not been appointed to roles in cyber security,” he said.
“We recently experienced a very serious and high profile global cyber attack which posed potentially hugely damaging to the HSE network. It gave us just a taste of the mayhem that could be caused by further attacks to essential systems across health, transport, finance, agriculture and government departments,” he added.
“Lax attitudes to internet security allows cyber criminals more opportunity to engage in highly profitable illegal online activities. Hackers are skilfully developing new ways to hide their activities and law enforcement must adapt to secure and monitor our networks and to protect the public and ensure our resilience against attacks. Otherwise the theft of personal information and data breaches will become more common occurrences for Irish businesses, organisations and government,” concluded Senator Gallagher.