WannaCry and Petya cyber infections put Laois council on guard

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Email:

lynda.kiernan@leinsterexpress.ie

WannaCry and Petya cyber infections put Laois council on guard

The WannaCry ransomware attack that infected more than 230,000 computers across 150 countries last May, has put Laois County Council's cyber security team on full alert.

Today at the July 31 council meeting, the extent of the attack, and the work done to prevent it hitting the local authority, was fully outlined.

"Recent cyber security incidents have presented particular challenges to the Council IT Department in guarding against these threats which included the well publicised WannaCry and Petya ransomware attacks. Ransomware is a type of malicious software that blocks access to the victim’s data until a ransom is paid," the CEO John Mulholland said in his Monthly Management report.

"What was different about this malware was that as well as encrypting user's individual files and PCs, it was also able to travel around internal networks and infect all machines via a Windows vulnerability. It was particularly successful, infecting more than 230,000 computers in 150 countries, with high-profile companies such as the UK’s NHS, Telefónica, FedEx and German Railways," he said.

He declared the council infection free.

"Laois County Council had no infections and this is due to a programme of stringent security checks. The IT Department receives regular updates from the National Cyber Security Centre, a division of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment. The Head of Information Systems and IT Department receive these coded alerts and advice from the Cyber Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT-IE) allowing for early interventions when necessary," Mr Mulholland reported.