For Oral Answer on : 24/02/2022
Question Number(s): 85 Question Reference(s): 9295/22
Department: Environment, Climate and Communications
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
[Ref No.: 9295/22]
To ask the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the preparations being taken to protect against further cyber-attacks such as that experienced on the health service in May 2021; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – David Stanton.
For ORAL answer on Thursday, 24th February, 2022.
(16 Received on 15th February, 2022.)
The National Cyber Security Centre, which is located within my Department, has a broad remit across the cyber security of Government ICT and critical national infrastructure. In the immediate aftermath of the ransomware incident at the HSE, the NCSC both lead the national incident response process into the incident itself, and took measures to protect other critical infrastructure operators. This included rapidly disseminating indicators of compromise and relevant guidance to ensure the cyber criminals behind that cyber attack could not threaten other vital services. The NCSC has worked with the HSE to learn lessons from that incident and these have been incorporated into the NCSC’s ongoing engagement with operators of essential services in the health and other sectors. The NCSC is continuing to support the HSE as it enhances the security and resilience of its networks and services.
The NCSC has a particular focus on supporting Government networks and public bodies. The NCSC, in collaboration with a cross departmental group drawn from across the public service, recently published the baseline cyber security standard to be applied by all Government Departments and Agencies. In addition, the Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) based within in the NCSC, has developed and deployed technology on the infrastructure of Government Departments, to detect and warn of certain types of threat.
The Government has committed to the further development of the NCSC including through the provision of a new permanent facility at my Department’s redeveloped headquarters in Beggars Bush, funding to support a five-year technology strategy, and the drafting of primary legislation to provide a clear mandate and authority for the NCSC. This is in addition to the expansion in staffing at the NCSC which will see staff numbers increase by 20 before the end of this year, and to over 70 in the next five years. There have been three dedicated recruitment competitions launched in recent months for the NCSC, with a further one opening later this week The Government will provide all necessary support to the NCSC to ensure it can fulfil its important role in the years to come.