Three Irish Hospitals Hit During Global Cyber Attack

Otis Hoffman
May 18, 2017

Hospitals in Ireland suspected of being hit by the worldwide cyber attack had been targeted by a different, older virus, health chiefs have revealed.

We have all seen how badly the NHS across the pond in the United Kingdom was affected by the WannaCry ransomware virus with operations being cancelled and patients not sure when they will be rescheduled.

A Microsoft security patch, released in March to close the vulnerability in Windows operating systems exploited by the ransomware virus, has been downloaded onto 28,000 HSE computers since Saturday.

The only confirmed case in Ireland so far is a HSE-funded healthcare unit in County Wexford - which was not connected to its main network.

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

Earlier: Workers across the Republic of Ireland and the North have been placed on high alert over cyber security.

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The Cabinet will today be briefed on the fallout from the WannaCry cyber attack.

Precautions included removing the facility from incoming email list and removing the affected hardware from the system and placing patches on remaining equipment.

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

The NHS was one of many major global organisations affected, with 47 trusts hit.

Staff members were unable to receive emails from internal and external sources, access the internet or external based servers.

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

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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.

Meanwhile, Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, expressed concerns about children who may be at risk of abuse as a result of the email shut-down.

"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", she said.

Elsewhere, the HSE said it opened six helpdesks and ran a communications campaign to advise staff about turning machines on and waiting for anti-virus upgrades before starting online work.

But HSE chief information officer Richard Corbridge said the impact on patients is unlikely to be significant because email is rarely used to communicate with patients.

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Other reports by Info About Network

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