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Investigations into GAA hacking ongoing

Donegal GAA

BY CHRIS MCNULTY

INVESTIGATIONS are still ongoing into a scam that cost the Donegal GAA County Board over €18,000 last August.

The email account of the county treasurer was hacked, resulting in the loss of £15,000stg.

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At the monthly county committee meeting on Monday night, the county chairman, Sean Dunnion, gave delegates an update on the matter.

“The Garda process is still ongoing and there is a second process ongoing with the Financial Services Ombudsman (FSO),” he said.

“The advice from our solicitor is that if any club wants to ask specific questions, we can take them and revert back once we take it to the solicitor to see what can and can’t be said.”

The issue was raised by Cloughaneely delegate Seamus Ó Domhnaill.

It is understood that the Board has received correspondence from Bank of Ireland with two items to be clarified.

Their queries relate to a recall not being initiated until Tuesday August 6th, despite a recall request having been lodged by email by the County Board on Friday 6th. They also are seeking clarification about a proof of delivery letter having been ‘hand delivered’ to the office of the Donegal GAA solicitor in December.

The Board has referred these matters back to the FSO.

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On August 1st, the treasurer’s account was hacked and detailed instructions were sent to a member of the Board’s administration team with the order to transfer £15,000stg to a bank account in England. The transfer equated to €17,400 being removed from the County Board’s account.

When the matter came to light, County Board officials alerted the Gardaí, who have been liasising with the Thames Valley Police.

It was suggested at the time the issue came into the public domain that the hackers had access to the email account for a considerable time prior to this elabroate scam.

Investigations have found that three IP addresses, believed to have been in Africa and America, were used by the hackers. Within hours of the transfer, the money was withdrawn from the account and, while banking officials in England were made aware while the funds were still in the account, they were not in a position to block the account, which has an address in Reading.

County Secretary Aodh Mairtín Ó Fearraigh said that the IT team in Croke Park are keeping close tabs on developments.

He told Monday’s meeting: “I attended an IT workshop and one of the main reasons the Association moved their emails from Google to Microsoft was because of security. What happened in Donegal happened in other parts of the Association. Google weren’t able to provide the security that was required by the GAA. The IT department in Croke Park are also actively investigating this.”

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