Ireland prepares for cyber-attack on energy sector

Ireland’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has carried out a mock emergency exercise which simulated the national response to a cyber incident affecting the nation’s energy sector.

The NCSC said that the aim of the exercise was to test procedures to ensure that the government, state agencies “and relevant stakeholders are prepared to effectively respond to a large-scale cyber incident impacting critical national infrastructure”.

A statement from the body said routine cyber exercises are part of ongoing contingency planning at government level.

Several public and private entities, including Gardaí, representatives from various government departments, the defence forces, EirGrid, ESB Networks, Gas Networks Ireland, and a third-party cyber incident provider took part in the exercise.

The NCSC said that ESB Networks, EirGrid and Gas Networks Ireland have robust and tested procedures in place to deal with emergencies of this nature.

Speaking after the exercise, director of the NCSC, Richard Browne, said: “The scenario outlining a series of escalating cyber incidents in the energy sector was a complex and challenging reminder of the difficulties associated with coordinating a whole-of-Government response to national-level crises.”

“The exercise also allowed us to test and coordinate with our partners across the public and private sector, including An Garda Síochána, the Defence Forces and the main energy providers and regulators, leaving us better prepared to collaborate during any real-life situations.”