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Cyber security awareness campaign to focus on ransomware risks

The Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, Ossian Smyth TD has today launched a public awareness campaign for Cyber Security Month (October). The campaign will provide information and tips to raise awareness of the security issues facing citizens surrounding the digitalisation of everyday life.


The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau (GNCCB) will jointly promote the theme of ‘Being Cyber Secure from Home’, along with a particular focus on risks associated with ‘Ransomware’. Cyber security awareness material will also be published for the political audience.


The NCSC is the Government’s operational unit for network and information security and acts as a central contact point in the event of a government or nation-wide cyber security incident affecting the State. It serves a constituency made up of organisations from the Irish Government and a large number of Critical National Infrastructure providers from key sectors such as energy, transport and health.


The public can also contact the NCSC if they feel that they have experienced a cyber security incident that may have a national impact. However, members of the public or businesses who are victims of cyber crime, where they are affected individually, should report these incidents to the Gardaí.


Key themes


For the first theme, ‘Being Cyber Secure from Home’, awareness material will inform the general public, families and employees on how to remain cyber secure when going online to surf social media and when working from home.


After a hugely disruptive ransomware attack was carried out on the healthcare system in May, key awareness material on the second theme, ‘Ransomware’, will provide insights into the stages of a ransomware attack chain, the impacts they have, and the important actions that can be taken to ‘break the chain’ to stop an attack.


Speaking today, Minister Smyth said:


“As we have seen recently, organisations and citizens are facing a very real threat from cyber criminals looking to disrupt these organisations from functioning properly in return for a ransom. We are also seeing homes becoming more digitalised and people having the choice to work from home by using remote connectivity. Cyber security month is an important way to raise awareness of these issues and to ensure that organisations and citizens have the necessary defences to protect themselves.”


Over the course of Cyber Security Month, which runs throughout October, the NCSC will put out awareness-raising tips on the following topics:


Being Cyber Secure from Home

  • Use strong, unique passwords to protect your email and social media accounts;
  • Secure your home router by changing the default password and SSID.

Breaking the ‘Ransomware Attack Chain’

  • The stages in a ransomware attack;
  • Breaking the ransomware attack chain to stop an attacker.

Cyber Security for Schools

  • The actors involved in a cyber-attack and its impacts on a school;
  • Actions to reduce the risk of a cyber incident.


The NCSC will also take part in Cyber Ireland’s National Conference on the 21st October. The Cyber Ireland National Conference (CINC) will provide a unique opportunity to bring together the cyber security community to showcase the best of our cluster, to discuss cyber security challenges facing industry and our country and to highlight innovative solutions from Ireland and internationally.


The Department of Justice and An Garda Síochána will also be launching a number of initiatives in the coming weeks to support Cyber Security Month.








European Cyber Security Month (ECSM) is coordinated by the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) and takes place each year during the month of October. ENISA’s press release for European Cyber Security Month can be found here: Uniting to raise awareness on Cyber Threats: European Cybersecurity Month 2021.


The campaign is supported across Europe by Member States, which organise numerous activities including conferences, workshops and webinars. They also disseminate appropriate awareness-raising material and good practices to promote cyber security and cyber hygiene. During October, the NCSC will share content from ENISA on two themes – ‘Being Cyber Secure from Home’ and ‘Cyber First Aid’.


The National Cyber Security Centre of Ireland (NCSC) engages in a comprehensive set of tasks around cyber security, with a primary focus on securing Government networks and securing Critical National Infrastructure. It encompasses the State’s National/Governmental Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT-IE).





DECC (Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications) Press Office:

Jim Breen (Press Officer): 353 (0) 87 693 7580