Thursday, 4 July 2019

Questions (10)

Michael Moynihan


10. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if digital security is under his remit [22087/19]

View answer

Oral answers (4 contributions) (Question to Communications)

My question will be short because I have a Business Committee meeting at 10.30 a.m. What plans are in place for digital security? Across the world, people are very concerned about this. There are many challenges and there have been breaches of digital security. What plans has the Government outlined for each Department and for the security of the State?

I thank the Deputy for this important and timely question. The National Cyber Security Centre was established under my Department following a Government decision in 2011 and has a remit across the digital and cybersecurity of Government ICT and critical national infrastructure under the network and information security directive. The centre is focused on developing capacity to protect Government information and communications networks and on engaging with stakeholders on sharing information, securing systems and responding to incidents.

The National Cyber Security Centre has three central roles: to manage and share information relating to threats to network and information security; to manage and collate incident reports and threat-intelligence data; and to issue advisories to constituents and-or the public, including during ongoing incidents. The centre also provides early warnings and alerts, and disseminates information about dynamic risk, incident analysis and situational awareness.

The centre is home to the national computer security incident response team, which acts as a conduit for information to constituents, including operators of critical national infrastructure and Departments and agencies, and is responsible for the provision of expert advice and analysis on cybersecurity issues and for co-ordinating the response to significant incidents.

The resources for the group have been considerably expanded in recent years as it takes on new responsibilities under EU directives. A new cybersecurity strategy is currently in preparation, which takes account of the latest assessment of risks and international experience.

I have one brief supplementary question. How many people are employed in the National Cyber Security Centre to police this or to try to get a handle on cybersecurity and ensure that digital information is secure and safe from national and international hackers?

The resource for the centre has been steadily increased and it has approximately 30 staff. The ongoing resourcing requirements will be reviewed in the context of the next cybersecurity strategy. The strategy has just been out for public consultation and will be finalised shortly.

Questions Nos. 11 to 13, inclusive, replied to with Written Answers.