The Irish National Health Service was hit by a ransomware attack, which prompted it to shut down its IT systems. The Health Service Executive (HSE) described the “precautionary” approach aimed at containing the problem while assessing the situation with security partners. According to The Irish Times, the HSE is investigating the violation with the support of the Irish National Police, the Gardaí; defense forces; government and cybersecurity experts.
Vaccinations against COVID-19 were not affected by the attack and will proceed normally, the HSE said. But widespread delays in appointments and consultations are expected as health workers have to switch electronic records to pen and paper, reports the Independent.ie.
Describing the severity of the attack, HSE chief executive Paul Reid said it impacted all national and local health systems on Friday morning. He added that there had been no ransom demand at this point and that the health service is currently in containment.
Although the origins of the malware have not yet been confirmed, a professor at Irish Hospital in La Rotonde told the Independent.ie that he had suffered a Conti ransomware attack. In cybersecurity circles, Conti is described as a “double extortion”Ransomware that steals and threatens to expose information as well as encrypt it. The gang behind the malware has posted stolen data from at least 180 victims on its leak site.
The HSE breach is the latest example of the growing threat to vital health and infrastructure operations from ransom hacking gangs. It follows a large-scale cyberattack on the UK National Health Service in 2017, resulting in the cancellation of 19,000 medical appointments after hundreds of surgeries shut down computers. A suite government report said the WannaCry attack could have been prevented with basic computer security.
In the USA, officials are still struggling with the effects of Colonial pipeline breach last week, which forced the gasoline supplier to shut down its systems for several days. Reports claim that the company paid nearly $ 5 million to hackers belonging to the Darkside group operating in Eastern Europe.
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