The Government has been forced to defend the level of spending on the cybersecurity agency leading the response to the ransomware attacks on the health service.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Minister for Communications Eamon Ryan said investment in the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) had trebled this year as this year’s funding of €5.1 million was criticised in the Dáil.
Figures compiled by The Irish Times show that such investment amounted to less than €14 million, not including payroll costs, over the past decade.
In the Dáil, Aontú TD Peadar Tóibín described the level of funding for the NCSC as “paltry” in the context of its responsibilities, while Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane said “we took our eye off the ball” on cybersecurity.
Mr Martin insisted funding had been “significantly increased” for the NCSC.
Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney discussed the cyberattack with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Monday.
A spokesman for Mr Coveney said the hacking of the health service was briefly discussed on a scheduled call related to UN Security Council business. He added that the “criminal hacking of the health service was strongly criticised by both countries”.
The group which created the Conti ransomware used in the attack is sometimes known as Wizard Spider and is based in Russia. It has been known to license out its ransomware products in return for a share of any profits.
Separately, cybersecurity experts are examining data posted on the internet claiming to be from the Health Service Executive ransomware attack. However, as of now, there is…