Irish cyber awareness campaign to focus on ransomware

The National Cyber Security Centre and the Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau will jointly work to advise of the risks associated with ransomware.

The Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications in Ireland, Ossian Smyth TD has today launched a public awareness campaign for Cyber Security Month this October. The campaign will provide information and tips to raise awareness of the security issues facing citizens surrounding the digitalisation of everyday life.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau (GNCCB) will jointly promote the theme of ‘Being Cyber Secure from Home’, along with a particular focus on risks associated with ‘Ransomware’. Cyber security awareness material will also be published for the political audience.

The NCSC is the Government’s operational unit for network and information security and acts as a central contact point in the event of a government or nation-wide cyber security incident affecting the State. It serves a constituency made up of organisations from the Irish Government and a large number of Critical National Infrastructure providers from key sectors such as energy, transport and health.

Key themes

For the first theme, ‘Being Cyber Secure from Home’, awareness material will inform the general public, families and employees on how to remain cyber secure when going online to surf social media and when working from home.

After a hugely disruptive ransomware attack was carried out on the healthcare system in May, key awareness material on the second theme, ‘Ransomware’, will provide insights into the stages of a ransomware attack chain, the impacts they have, and the important actions that can be taken to ‘break the chain’ to stop an attack.

Minister Smyth said: "As we have seen recently, organisations and citizens are facing a very real threat from cyber criminals looking to disrupt these organisations from functioning properly in return for a ransom. We are also seeing homes becoming more digitalised and people having the choice to work from home by using remote connectivity. Cyber security month is an important way to raise awareness of these issues and to ensure that organisations and citizens have the necessary defences to protect themselves."

Over the course of Cyber Security Month, which runs throughout October, the NCSC will put out awareness-raising tips on the following topics:

Being Cyber Secure from Home

  • Use strong, unique passwords to protect your email and social media accounts
  • Secure your home router by changing the default password and SSID

Breaking the ‘Ransomware Attack Chain’

  • The stages in a ransomware attack
  • Breaking the ransomware attack chain to stop an attacker

Cyber Security for Schools

  • The actors involved in a cyber-attack and its impacts on a school
  • Actions to reduce the risk of a cyber incident

The NCSC will also take part in Cyber Ireland’s National Conference on 21 October. The Cyber Ireland National Conference (CINC) will provide a unique opportunity to bring together the cyber security community to showcase the best of our cluster, to discuss cyber security challenges facing industry and our country and to highlight innovative solutions from Ireland and internationally.

The Department of Justice and An Garda Síochána will also be launching a number of initiatives in the coming weeks to support Cyber Security Month.

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