Erris Water Scheme Targeted in Politically Motivated Cyber-Attack

Last week, cybercriminals disrupted the water supply for 180 homeowners in the Erris area, targeting equipment on a private group water scheme in a politically motivated cyber-attack.

The Binghamstown/Drum scheme residents experienced a water supply outage on Thursday and Friday when the Eurotronics Israeli-made water pumping system was tampered with by hackers, resulting in the disruption.

The hackers explicitly cited the Israeli origin of the equipment as their reason for the attack.

Noel Walsh, a member of the affected water scheme established in 1974, highlighted the unprecedented nature of the incident. He mentioned that while the committee usually receives phone alerts for issues, they received none during this attack. Walsh described the scene when their caretaker discovered the hack, encountering a message on the screen stating ‘You have been hacked,’ alongside anti-Israel sentiments and the name of the hacking entity.

Walsh acknowledged the potential insufficiency of their firewall security system and emphasized ongoing efforts to bolster their security measures. Comparatively, he noted that larger entities like Irish Water likely possess more robust firewall resources.

The attack caused considerable inconvenience, with the disruption only being resolved on Friday night after manual intervention to restore the water supply.

In response to the incident, Sinn Féin TD Rose Conway-Walsh raised concerns at a Joint Policing Committee meeting about preparedness for cyber-attacks affecting other group water schemes and organizations. Chief Superintendent Raymond McMahon assured close collaboration with national cyber-crime units and emphasized prompt responses to such incidents, citing their role in assisting and investigating cyber-related matters.

Chief Supt McMahon highlighted the increasing prevalence of such attacks, noting their collaboration with the national cyber-crime bureau in Dublin. He explained that incidents often involve broader entities rather than localized targets, emphasizing the challenge of dealing with attacks on larger corporations or companies.

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