Ireland’s Health Service Won't Pay Ransom

Ireland's Health Service Executive (HSE) has ruled-out giving in to hackers' ransom demands as the country's healthcare and social services continue to deal with the disruption caused by a significant cyber attack that began last. "Following an initial assessment we know this is a variant of the Conti virus that our security providers had not seen before. A ransom has been sought and won't be paid in line with state policy," the HSE said.

“Work continued today in assessing the impact and beginning to restore HSE IT systems following the criminal ransomware attack... There are serious concerns about the implications for patient care arising from the very limited access to diagnostics, lab services and historical patient records.   

The attack on the HSE uses Conti, a type of ransomware that first emerged this time last year. It's human-operated and appears to have been developed by a cyber crime group based in Eastern Europe called Wizard Spider. Having infiltrated the target network through phishing emails, a firewall vulnerability, or by gaining remote access to a desktop, the attackers gain admin rights and then map the system.

IT systems across the health service remain temporarily shut down for security reasons, and the HSE is working with the Irish National Cyber Security Centre, and with national and international experts including McAfee, to rectify this issue. “Our priority is keeping our patients safe and maintaining essential care and support services.

"The shutdown of our systems is having an impact on some health services and this disruption is very likely to go well into this week” says the HSE.

HSE:       RTE:       ZDNet:      

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