A government system to help improve cyber security has been sitting idly since 2019, Deputy Research Minister Philippos Hadjizacharias admitted on Thursday, as services were reeling after a number of hacks in the past few weeks.

The Security Operation Centre (SOC), purchased four years ago, aimed to offer a unified system for all state services, ensuring cyber security. It would have monitored government websites 24 hours a day and alerted authorities in the case of a hack.

Speaking to the state broadcaster, Hadjizacharias said SOC was purchased but not implemented “to the degree that it should have.”

How and why this came to be will be explored as soon as possible, he added.

“If responsibilities need to be assigned then we will do so.”

Former Deputy Research Minister Kyriakos Kokkinos told the Cyprus Mail he completely rejected any implication, stressing he was not even appointed until 2020. Meanwhile Cyprus’ digital security authority said a team of academics had developed SOC and had been working with Kokkinos to implement it as soon as possible.

Commenting on the recent hacks at the University of Cyprus, the Open University of Cyprus and the land registration, Hadjizacharias said there were some similarities in the nature of the hack but it was not clear if they were from the same source.

He specified he could not comment further due to the sensitive nature of the services affected but highlighted the land registration website portal for Kerynia would be going online on Thursday and be fully restored next week.