Hackers hit Erris water in stance over Israel – news – Western People

Cybercriminals caused upheaval for 180 homeowners on a private group water scheme in the Erris area last week as their equipment was targeted in a politically motivated cyber-attack.

Residents on the Binghamstown/Drum scheme were without their water supply on Thursday and Friday after the extraordinary incident as crews worked to repair the Eurotronics Israeli-made water pumping system.

The hackers stated the equipment was targeted due to the fact it originated in Israel.

Noel Walsh, a member of the group water scheme, established in 1974, said usually the committee receive phone alerts, but not on this occasion when their water supply went off.

“Our caretaker went down and when he got to the pumphouse, up on the screen was a sign ‘You have been hacked’. Down with Israel was written on it and the name of the company that hacked us,” he said. “Eurotronics supply a lot of equipment to schemes across the country.”

Mr Walsh said their firewall security system may not have been strong enough and they are currently improving their security systems.

“Irish Water would probably have far greater resources for firewalls to withstand this but they knocked ours off and we could not circumvent it. It took all day Friday to circumvent it so we could let the water flow manually,” he added.

Mr Walsh said the attack caused shock and it was a big inconvenience but there was relief when their water supply was restored on Friday night.

Sinn Féin TD Rose Conway-Walsh asked Chief Superintendent Raymond McMahon at Friday’s Joint Policing Committee meeting how prepared they are for dealing with cyber-attacks and what kind of warnings are given to other group water schemes and other agencies and organisations.

Chief Supt McMahon insisted they liaise very closely with their national cyber-crime units on a regular basis, and he said he is not aware of any other similar incidents in the county.

“They would be our first port of call in relation to anything on a national level and not just for Mayo and certainly we will be responding, and in any way we can, very quickly in relation to those issues. We are certainly there to assist in any way we can,” said Chief Supt McMahon.

“It is something that is becoming more common and more prevalent and certainly we work very closely with our own cyber-crime bureau in Dublin.”

Chief Supt McMahon said when an incident occurs they consult very quickly with the national office who take the lead role in the investigation and consult with detectives.

“It does not tend to be one localised factory per se, it might be the entire corporation or company and that is what we find,” he added.