Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Fears a massive computer virus could spread to Ireland following ransomware attack

Fears a massive computer virus could spread to Ireland following ransomware attack Fears a massive computer virus could spread to Ireland following ransomware attack
Ellis Copeland | 17 May, 2017, 13:04

"This needs to be done before opening up the health service to incoming emails that might pose a threat".

Our Lady's Hospital, in Crumlin, and the Rotunda Maternity Hospital are understood to have been among the major centres which were targeted by hackers who tried to infect their computer systems with the WannaCry ransomware.

"The identified problems were not related to any security or infection issues".

Patient appointments including MRI scans, X-rays and blood tests were disrupted on Monday due to the email shutdown.

The National Cyber Security Centre said they are continuing to actively monitor the situation, and to engage with entities across Government and the private sector in terms of managing the response to this malware. The health body said that ransomware detected in...

The machines include computers in the HSE.

"We would also recommend that businesses and industries join the local Cyber Information Sharing Partnership (CISP) so they can receive the most up to date threat and mitigation information to help protect their cyber security", it added.

"We want to ensure we capture all of the risks we can", Mr Corbridge said.

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The HSE said that the disruption to patient care has so far been minimal.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) cut its network off from external communications as a precaution. It targets the Microsoft Windows operating system and payment is directed to be made in bitcoin, the cryptocurrency and digital payment system.

The software locks files or a whole machine until a ransom is paid.

Windows XP is used on computers attached to expensive medical equipment that can not be cheaply adapted to updated systems.

A HSE spokesperson outlined that IT staff have located more than half of the at-risk computers, and expect to find and address the remaining units by Wednesday.

The PSNI said some people's systems may already be infected and waiting to activate after the weekend.

Here in Ireland, the HSE was lucky in that its systems were nearly completely unaffected, but fearing any situation similar to our nearest neighbour, it cut its systems off from the wider internet as a safety measure.

"The implications of such an attack are deeply worrying". We can not allow such an attack to happen, and possibly disrupt it even further.

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