Irish Government concerned about potential cyberattacks from Russia 10 months ago

Irish Government concerned about potential cyberattacks from Russia

"Ireland is not neutral in this war. Let no one be under any illusions there."

The Irish Government is concerned about potential cyberattacks in response to sanctions against Russia following the invasion of Ukraine, according to Simon Coveney.

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The Minister for Foreign Affairs spoke about the possibility of cyberattacks on The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk on Monday (14 March).

When discussing Ireland's role on the UN Security Council, Coveney emphasised Ireland's support for Ukraine during the conflict.

"Ireland is not neutral in this war. Let no one be under any illusions there," Coveney said.

"We are not neutral, we have taken sides and we're right to take sides.

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"When a global military superpower invades a sovereign independent country, targets its civilians to try and break the spirit of that country, to try and force its will on them, that is not something you can be neutral on.

"If Ireland is to be a credible member of the international community, that makes international decisions and foreign policy decisions in the basis of international law, then we can not be neutral on that, and we're not neutral.

"That's why we are contributing to help the Ukrainian military to defend themselves and their people and why the country is taking such a proactive role in terms of responding to the humanitarian crisis," he added.

Kenny asked the Minister if there were any concerns to future cyberattacks linked to the invasion, similar to the attack on the HSE in 2021.

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"Well, we're certainly on high alert for cyberattacks right now," Coveney explained.

"We know that in the last two to three weeks, cyberattacks across the EU have increased by 20-25%.

"There's a very naive view that by being neutral and staying out of conflicts like this, that Ireland won't be threatened.

"I think that's very naive. We know that in the middle of Covid, we were targeted by non-state actors east of the EU, probably in Russia, and that cost an enormous amount of money to solve, but not only that, it put people's lives at risk during a very sensitive period.

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"We know that Ireland, along with all other EU countries, can and will be targeted and we need to put as much defence in place to respond to that, and we are doing that."

Ireland has several members of the defence force working in Estonia along with the EU's Cyber Security Research Centre to share information and to help protect the Irish economy from potential attacks.