Ireland’s Health Service Shuts Down After Ransomware Attack

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A sophisticated ransomware attack forced the authorities to shut down most of the major IT systems running Ireland’s national health care service as a precaution to help secure all core services compromised during the data breach.

Some health services remain operational, such as the clinical systems and COVID-19 vaccination programs, which operate with separate infrastructure.

Nevertheless, the system for processing referrals from medical staff and close contacts failed, and Health Service Executives (HSE) tweeted that those who need tests should go to walk-in centers.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, although authorities revealed that the attack used Conti, a human-operated ransomware.

Health workers were advised to turn off their laptops, while those working in hospitals used pen and paper to manage their patients’ information.

In a statement on its official website, Ireland’s child and family agency Tusla said its internal systems – including email and child protection referral portal – were offline because they were hosted by the HSE network.

As the world continues to fight the pandemic, cyber-criminals have stepped up attacks in recent months. Just a few weeks ago, hackers believed to be from Eastern Europe gained access to the IT systems of Colonial Pipeline, a major fuel supplier in the United States.

For more information, read the original story in Arstechnica.

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