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Irish government websites hit by widening DDoS attacks

First they came for the forums. Then the lottery. Now...

A number of Irish government-related and public sector websites were knocked offline by an apparent DDoS attack on Friday morning.

The latest assaults follow apparently similar web attacks on the popular boards.ie discussion boards (bang) and the Irish National Lottery earlier (wallop) this week.

At the time of first of the assaults against boards.ie, an individual using a pseudonym got in touch to suggest follow-up assaults against a wider range of Irish sites would follow, ostensibly motivated by a desire to highlight security weaknesses.

This is the beginning of a national cybersecurity audit. There is a team of security folks testing a lot of Irish websites.

They have indicated that news outlets and financial institutions will be next. Their goal is to highlight poor security practices within Ireland and to raise the bar on a national level.

El Reg has received confirmation through reliable local sources that the “tests” are not part of any official program and are being treated as a criminal matter.

Stephanie Weagle, senior director of Corero Network Security, a company that specialises in mitigating DDoS attacks, commented: "The Irish Government Infrastructure appears to be the target of cyber attack activity, specifically malicious DDoS events, impacting a variety of public sector website properties, rendering then inaccessible.

"Motivations for DDoS attacks are so wide ranging and sometimes random in nature. Regardless of the stimulus, the impact can be wide quite damaging,” she added. ®

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