Written Answers. - Computer Hacking.

Denis Naughten

Question:

559 Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if his Department's computer system or web site has been hacked or if an attempt to hack it has occurred in the past three years; if so, when such an incident took place; the measures which have been put in place to protect against hacking; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8193/01]

My Department operates a comprehensive security policy in relation to all its IT systems and none of its systems have been hacked over the past three years. With regard to the Department's website, it is currently hosted as part of the Government hosting service operated by the Department of Finance, CMOD. I can confirm that the Justice website has not been breached in any way since its launch almost five years ago. Regarding attempted breaches via e-mail, could I refer the Deputy to my reply to Deputy Bernard Durkan on 30 January last whichinter alia stated:

"In general, while there is a steady stream of viruses in circulation, with occasional peaks such as that mentioned above, my Department's computer networks have not, so far, been compromised due to virus attacks and there has been no down-time resulting from e-mails which contain viruses.".

The security of IT systems is continually evolving as new threats arise and counter measures are put in place. In addition, changes in the method of delivery of electronic services such as the provision of on-line access to systems for citizens and external clients, in accordance with electronic Government initiatives, brings a new set of challenges from an IT security perspective. My Department is committed to implementing best practice in this area.