The new director of the National Cyber Security Centre should be paid between €220,000-€290,000 a year with an additional benefits package of €150,000-€200,000, an Oireachtas committee has heard.

There has been criticism that the role remains vacant at a time when the Health Service Executive and the Department of Health have been targeted by a crippling cyber attack.

HR director of Fiserv, Bláthnaid Carolan, told the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications that the seniority of the role could not be understated.

She said: "Everything hinges on getting this right."

The committee's chair, Fine Gael TD Kieran O'Donnell, said it had been reported that the role has been offered with a salary of €89,000.

The CEO of Ward Solutions, Paul Larkin, told the Oireachtas that the public sector was more focused on compliance rather than defence and he said the mindset needed to change.

In the private sector, boards are focused on protecting value and allocated matching resources.

He said Ireland must see cyber security as a State service, such as health or power.

Mr Larkin said the attack was a wake-up call and Ireland had historically under-invested in the area.

The National Cyber Security Centre currently has an annual budget of €5 million.

Mr Larkin said Ireland should be spending ten times that amount on cyber security, at €50m per year, to be spending at the same level as the UK on a per capita basis.

The committee also heard that the problem of ransomware is a global problem and everyone is getting hit.

Health services remain paralysed from the cyber attack on 14 May as fears continue that personal data could be dumped online.

In an update on the attack, the HSE has said that the situation remains very serious.

It said that while some improvements have been made, services continue to be very challenged with widespread cancellations.

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Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Public Procurement and e-Government, Ossian Smyth, has said that the decryption key received from the hackers of the HSE computer system has been very useful, and it was now much more likely that certain data would not be lost.

Speaking on RTÉ's Prime Time, he said that the Government has prepared for the hackers who targeted the HSE to publish the files they have accessed.

He said that if people are contacted by anyone trying to use their private data to defraud them, they should contact their local garda station and gardaí are ready and prepared to help.

Earlier, Mr Smyth said that he does not believe any data stolen in the cyber attack has been dumped onto the dark web.

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Claire Byrne, he said that Ireland is receiving assistance from other countries and private companies in its investigation into the cyber attack and the HSE attack is not an unprecedented attack.

Mr Smyth said protection of networks will increase and the national cyber security budget will increase next year, as will the HSE's.

Yesterday, gardaí said they were not aware of any data stolen from the HSE computer system being posted online.

Threats to publish the data purporting to come from the organised cyber crime group believed to be responsible for the cyber attack appeared online last week.