Meath County Council yesterday had €4.3m returned in full to its bank account, after it was the subject of an attempted cyber attack over last year’s October bank holiday weekend.The council had taken legal action in Hong Kong to have the monies transferred back into its name.
The council’s chairman, Gerry O’Connor, said its systems had worked last October when the alarm was raised and this allowed the council “to get Interpol and the gardai to have the funds frozen”.
The attack happened on the Friday of the bank holiday weekend and the funds had reached Hong Kong by the time the council was aware of it.
The council went to court there to get the monies returned.
“It is laborious dealing with inter-bank transfers and inter-country transfers and the money hit our account [yesterday]. It is a good news story,” said Mr O’Connor.
The council has since upgraded its cyber-security system to make it more difficult for it to be targeted in the future.
“We were not the only ones targeted, there seems to be cyber criminals targeting State institutions and local government,” said Mr O’Connor.
“We have had an internal audit done and several [new] layers of security so this cannot happen again.”
The council has also engaged IT consultants “so our systems are as robust as they can be”.
He said cyber criminals operate in a changing world and “as soon as one threat is eliminated, another one is there”.