Ransomware Attack On Ireland's Health Service

Ireland’s national health and social services provider, the Health Service Executive (HSE) has had its IT systems shut down and medical appointments cancelled after attempt to access data via IT systems following a ransomware hack. “There is a significant ransomware attack on the HSE IT systems. We have taken the precaution of shutting down all our our IT systems in order to protect them from this attack and to allow us fully assess the situation with our own security partners”, said HSE Ireland on Twitter.

The attack has affected national and local systems that provide core services, but not Covid-19 vaccinations or ambulance services. A number of hospitals in the Republic of Ireland are reporting disruption to services and a major  hospital Dublin was forced to cancel most of its outpatient appointments. 

An international cyber crime gang was behind the attack, Ireland's minister responsible for e-government said, describing it as possibly the most significant cyber crime attempt against the Irish state. 

However, HSE Chief Executive Paul Reid told Irish national broadcaster RTE that the country’s vaccination programme hadn’t been impacted by the cyber-attack "The vaccination programme continues thankfully, it's a separate system,” he said.

Reid described the attack as “very sophisticated” and “not just the standard attack... It is impacting all of our national and local systems that would be involved in all of our core services," he added. The perpetrator has not been named and HSE was not immediately available for comment.

The 2017 Wannacry attacks affected over 200,000 computer systems across the world, disrupted the services of one-third of the UK's hospital trusts, and approximately 8% of GP clinics. It's believed that around 19,000 hospital appointments were cancelled as a result. A subsequent investigation conducted by the UK Department of Health and Social Care found that the ransomware attack had cost the NHS around £90 million. Most of the cost was for putting its systems back working and to the recovery of data.

HSE Ireland:         Reuters:      Euronews:       Guardian:        BBC:       ITPro:  

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