Health and Wellness Informatics News

Ireland’s health service faces a significant ransomware attack

Healthcare IT systems are facing a shutdown due to precaution.

The IT system of Ireland’s health service has been shut down as a precautionary measure due to a cyber-attack today. The Health Service Executive believes that the ransomware attack has taken place due to some international criminals. The criminals attempted to extort money. However, the demand has not yet been received.

HSE has come up with the confirmation that there had been a much significant ransomware attack on their IT systems. Now it has closed down the systems to protect them from this attack and to allow them to fully assess the situation. They are consulting with their own security partners.

Irish health minister Stephen Donnelly said that this attack is having a much severe impact on the health and social care services. However, the emergency services and the National Ambulance Service were still in continuation.

Ransomware works as malicious software that encrypts files on a computer system. The attack has caused the health services to temporarily make a return to the paper-based systems. Hence it is leading to delays and to the cancelation of the patient services. Hospitals are getting the effects. It includes the Rotunda Maternity Hospital and the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin, which have reported for the disruption in services. They are unable to access any kind of electronic records.

The UL Hospitals group also warned about the long delays for the patients. It also said that it was the largest operating manual backup system. The delays would keep continuing until the system becomes fully operational.

The COVID-19 vaccinations and the tests will continue. However, the registration portal for the vaccinations and for testing referrals system has been shut down.

The attack comes four years after the WannaCry virus attack. It affected more than 200000 computers in at least 150 countries worldwide. It has caused the disruption to at least 81 NHS trusts and in more than 600 primary care organizations from England.

Recently this outsourcing firm behind the NHS Test and Trace, Serco, came up with the confirmation. It says that the parts of its infrastructure in Europe are experiencing double extortion or cyber-attack.

In February, the French insurance company Mutuelle Nationale des Hospitaliers suffered a ransomware attack. It has disrupted the healthcare operations of the company. Last year the Vastaamo therapy center in Finland became the target.

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