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Intelligence on threats to national security should be shared between government agencies and with the private sector, the body responsible for communications security has said.

According to the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) it is not possible to guarantee secure telecommunications networks within the State without access to intelligence on national security risks.

Ireland’s increasing reliance on telecommunications networks means their security has now become a “matter of critical concern”, it said in its submission to the Government’s public consultation on national security strategy.

Along with the Garda, Defence Forces and the National Cyber Security Centre, ComReg is responsible for guarding Ireland’s networks against attack, including cyber attacks.

With the ongoing rollout of 5G technology, nation states or groups acting on their behalf pose the biggest threat to cybersecurity, ComReg submitted, citing a recent EU cyber security report.

ComReg’s view of increasing cyber threats from State actors echoes those expressed in a defence policy review provided to Cabinet last month which warned that increased spying by foreign intelligence agencies poses a risk to national security and to foreign direct investment.

According to the National Cyber Security Strategy released in December, Ireland is particularly vulnerable to attack due to the large numbers of data centres here. By some estimates, Ireland is home to 30 per cent of all EU data.

New 5G technology will benefit society and technology but will also “increase the attack area of the network. It will also result in an increase in threats to and vulnerability within a network,” ComReg director of markets George Merrigan wrote in the submission.



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