Maternity and children's hospitals come under attack

May 18, 2017, 00:08
Maternity and children's hospitals come under attack

Thousands of Irish hospitals thought to have been hit during the major cyber attack on the NHS were infected by a separate, older virus, it has emerged.

However, the HSE said the current ransomware virus, which is capable of spreading across a computer network, had been thwarted and had not infected any device in the health system.

The police said further information was available via the National Cyber Security Centre and appealed to anyone who believes they may be victims of cyber-attack to contact them. Internal emails had also been blocked, but were restored yesterday morning, and Mr Corbridge said it was unlikely that any of these interruptions would have a significant impact on patient care.

Microsoft patches have been added to more than 28,000 new machines and more than half of the affected Microsoft XP machines have been checked and it is expected that the rest will be visited in the next 48 hours.

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The center, which is owned by a voluntary organization, is not controlled by the government health agency HSE and is therefore not part of HSE's computer network.

The situation in Ireland is being monitored by the National Cyber Security Centre in the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

However, he said the PSNI "cannot rule out the possibility that local systems may be vulnerable". The issues were not related to the ransomware cyber attack, and affected two administrative computers that did not hold patient records.

The state's cyber security chiefs were also liaising with the Garda Cyber Crime Bureau and the Defence Forces.

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He said the HSE leadership team will meet on Tuesday to discuss if they can restore external communications from outside the HSE network by Wednesday.

The decision means its facilities will be unable to receive emails from outside the organisation. "This incident has tested our people and our processes and provided us with huge learning to build upon", he said.

"If anyone has reported a child protection concern to Tusla by email since Friday evening, please be advised that this may not have been received".

However, HSE Chief Information Officer Richard Corbridge said the 20 machines were quickly isolated from networks before it spread, with the machines replaced and the systems put back online.

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