Council ups security of €1bn payroll wing

Improvements done to prevent a cyber attack at county hall

Council ups security of €1bn payroll wing
By Lynda Kiernannews@leinsterexpress.ieTwitter: @laoisnews

Improvements to the cyber security system have been made at Laois County Council, home to MyPay which controls millions of euros a month in salaries to every local authority.

Speaking in the wake of a near successful €4m cyber attack on Meath County Council by international thieves, deputy CEO Kieran Kehoe said that a recent review had resulted in stronger security measures.

“We are as confident as one can be. Over the last few months, we did a strong review of our cyber security systems and we did amend some practices and systems. We are very conscious of the risk of such an attack, particularly on MyPay. Security is our top priority, both for us and for MyPay,” said Mr Kehoe.

A new review was carried out this week after the Meath incident.

"We are satisfied that we have the necessary safeguards in place in Laois County Council. Our cyber security systems and processes are reviewed regularly," Mr Kehoe said.

Cllr Caroline Dwane had asked if there were any risk of a similar attack on Laois County Council, during their December meeting.

“In light of Meath where €4m ended up in another bank account in Hong Kong, is there any reason to be concerned, is the security adequate enough?” she asked.

The attack on Meath County Council took place over the October bank holiday, confirmed this month by that local authority.

“Meath County Council was recently the target of a serious, attempted cyber enabled offence involving identity theft,” it said.

It is understood that € 4.3 million was stolen from the council’s bank accounts in an identity theft. It was intercepted by the National Economic Crime Bureau and the funds were frozen in a bank in Hong Kong.

All local authorities were recommended to review their cyber security systems.

The council’s MyPay section handles thousands of payments a month to staff and retired staff in almost all Irish local authorities, paying out almost €1bn since it started three years ago, with more pension payments to be added on in 2017. The centre on the top floor has 69 staff.