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Irish health system shuts down following ransomware attack

18 May 2021

Ireland health system ransomware -TeCHi

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Ireland’s health services are in jeopardy.

Health Service Executive, the country’s health service, has shut down its IT system in order to deal with a “significant” ransomware attack.

“We have taken the precaution of shutting down all our IT systems in order to protect them from this attack and to allow us fully assess the situation with our own security partners,” HSE Ireland said on Twitter.

According to the HSE, the National Ambulance Service is still operating normally.

Paul Reid, the chief executive of the HSE, said that the attackers were “an internationally operated criminal operation,” the Irish Times reported. No ransom demand has been made at this stage, he said.

Reid also clarified that equipment in hospitals wasn’t affected by the hack, nor was the system for COVID-19 vaccinations; however, the system for radiological imaging has been impacted.

The attack follows a ransomware attack on U.S. pipeline operator Colonial Pipeline, causing a nationwide gas shortage. The company also had to shut down its IT systems following the attack. The episode ended with Colonial Pipeline paying hackers nearly $5 million in ransom, after which its systems have been restored.

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