EU cites HSE hack as it unveils plans for rapid-response cyber unit

Plans to set up an EU rapid-response cyber unit that could quickly respond to attacks like the recent ransomware hack of the Health Service Executive (HSE) were unveiled on Wednesday.

Across Europe cyberattacks rose 75 per cent last year, with 756 such incidents logged, including an increasing number of attacks on healthcare systems, representing a growing risk to society with critical infrastructure at stake, according to the European Commission.

“We have a lot of cyber enemies around us,” European commissioner Thierry Breton told journalists.

“On May 14th, Ireland’s public healthcare system suffered a pretty strong ransomware attack. I believe it affected a system with more than 80,000 computers, so that was something which was pretty, pretty strong.”

The State co-ordinated with an existing EU information-sharing network of national Computer Security Incident Response Teams to respond to the ransomware attack as soon as it came to light.