Minister says new director of National Cyber Security Centre will have higher salary

It comes as the HSE was hit on Friday by a ransomware attack, while the Department of Health shut down its systems after finding a similar digital note to that which was found on the HSE's systems.
Minister says new director of National Cyber Security Centre will have higher salary

Vivienne Clarke

Minister of State Ossian Smyth said he has recommended that the next director of cybersecurity at the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) be paid a higher salary.

It comes as the HSE was hit on Friday by a ransomware attack, while the Department of Health shut down its systems after finding a similar digital note to that which was found on the HSE's systems.

Mr Smyth was responding to criticism by Independent TD and former member of the Army Ranger Wing Cathal Berry that the position – which has been vacant for a year – could not be filled because the salary was low and was equivalent to a principal officer.

Mr Berry was also critical of the fact that the NCSC does not have a permanent premises and therefore had no way of customising it to their specifications.

“Cyber security is not solely located in the National Cyber Security Centre, we also have a large quantity of people in the gardaí, in military intelligence and in all of the different government departments,” Mr Smyth told Newstalk Breakfast.

“What I have recommended is a pay increase for the new director, we're hiring a new director at the moment, of the National Cyber Security Centre, also we're locating a new network operations centre for them to have as a permanent base, they have been located at UCD.

“I've made a recommendation it will be at a higher rate - it won't be at the kind of level that would be paid if you were working for a private company - it's the most expensive area of IT and IT salaries are already high - we will be paying a high salary and it will be higher than what was there before.”

Mr Smyth said that the NCSC staff were excellent at their job and were in control of what was happening as a result of the cyber attack on the HSE and Department of Health last week.

A dedicated team from the NCSC has been deployed to help other government departments and state agencies reduce the risk of ransomware attacks on their networks.

It comes as Simon Coveney said the Government has established a “war room” in response to the “very serious” cyber attacks.

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