The Irish government is in the process of upgrading its IT security across various departments ahead of the local and European elections for fear that they could be subject to outside interference. TheJournal.ie understands that sophisticated cyber security features were added to the internal infrastructure of many Government department’s systems in recent weeks. Late last year, the Government issued a report which identified the cyber related risks to the electoral process and made a number of recommendations to mitigate them. While the Government has not explicitly said that the upgrade is to protect elections, there is a serious fear that Russia may attempt to influence European elections, meaning Ireland could be compromised despite the small number of MEPs we have.
The government report found: “Overall, the assessment finds that risks to the electoral process in Ireland are relatively low, taking into account the mitigation factors already in place. It is recognised, however, that the spread of disinformation online and the risk of cyber-attacks on the electoral system pose more substantial risks and that this is in line with EU findings and recent international experience.”
The report identified seven proposals which are currently in the process of being implemented.
One includes the regulation and transparency of online political advertising, which the Government has earmarked as a priority.