Irish health service reports hit by ‘very sophisticated’ ransomware
The Irish Health Service reports being hit by a “ very sophisticated ” ransomware attack.
The Irish healthcare operator was forced to shut down its entire IT system this morning, Friday 14 May, in order to protect it from a ‘significant’ ransomware attack that crippled diagnostic services and forced hospitals to cancel many appointments. The BBC.
It is understood that the country’s COVID-19 vaccination program has not been interrupted, however, the attack was affecting computer systems serving all other local and national health services, the head of the Health Service Executive said. (HSE).
In carrying out the attack, HSE shut down computer systems as a precaution to protect as much information as possible and was assessing how the attack would affect other departments, chief executive Paul Reid said.
Reid said the cyberattack, discovered in the early hours of Friday morning, was a “man-made ransomware attack in which they seek to access data and demand a ransom.” He added that the HSE had not received a ransom demand “at this stage” and was at a very early stage of understanding the threat.
“It’s a very sophisticated attack, not just the standard attack. It has an impact on all of our national and local systems which would be involved in all of our basic services. Fortunately, the vaccination program continues, it is a separate system. Reid told national broadcaster RTE.
Reid explained that the attack mainly affected information stored on central servers and, luckily, non-sensitive hospital equipment.
Dublin’s National Maternity Hospital said on Friday all services would be significantly disrupted. Another maternity hospital in the capital canceled all outpatient appointments for the day other than those for women who are 36 weeks pregnant or in need of urgent care.
At Cork University Hospital, medical oncologist Seamus O’Reilly, his staff, arrived at the city’s largest hospital and found its computer systems paralyzed with all computers turned off.
“Our primary concern is patient safety and the potentially outstanding results, the laboratory data that must be available to manage patient care today. It is very painful for the patients, ”he told RTE.
Ransomware attacks typically involve the infection of computers with malware, often downloaded by clicking seemingly harmless links in emails or other website pop-ups. Users are banned from their systems, with the demand for a ransom to be paid to restore computer functions.
They differ from a data breach or other types of hacking, which can steal large batches of customer data or other information from companies or individuals.
Irish health services attack – threat of a different pandemic looms
A cybersecurity expert recently warned US lawmakers that the world is on the cusp of a “pandemic of another variety.”
Christopher Krebs, who once headed the Cyber security and the Department of Homeland Security’s Infrastructure Security Agency, testified before the House Committee on Homeland Security last Wednesday that a form of malware called ransomware has become more prevalent than ever. Given a growing criminal enterprise and a vulnerable digital landscape, he said, critical infrastructure is at risk of debilitating attacks.
Two days later, Colonial Pipeline, a major fuel pipeline connecting the East Coast, was hit in the biggest known hack of US energy infrastructure.
The incident, which sparked the shutdown of the gas pipeline, panic over gas purchases and soaring prices at the pump over the weekend, is one of the latest crippling ransomware attacks orchestrated by extortionate criminal organizations that operate mainly in foreign shelters out of reach. of the American criminal justice system.