After being targeted by malicious hackers, Ireland’s health authority had to shut down its computer systems today.
The incident began less than a week after a fuel network in the United States was forced to close its systems until a $5 million ransom was paid.
Outpatients who aren’t in an emergency have been advised to stay at home as the healthcare system is expected to slow.
Only emergency cases and women who are at least 36 weeks pregnant will be admitted to the Rotunda maternity hospital in Dublin, due to a “serious IT issue.”
‘We took the precaution of closing down all our IT systems to prevent them from this attack and to enable us to completely deal with the situation with our own security partners,’ said Ireland’s Health Service Executive.
‘We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused patients and the general public, and we will provide additional information as it becomes available,’ says the company.
He went on to say that Ireland’s coronavirus vaccination program was unaffected and would continue as scheduled.
Patients in Ireland have been reassured that their medical records are secure.
Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts files on an infected computer and demands payment to decrypt them.
It usually spreads through email attachments or downloads.
The attack aimed at computers that store patient records, according to hospital chief Fergal Malone, but they are safe.
‘There is no problem for patient safety due to hospitals switching to backup paper records,’ he said, adding that life-saving equipment is working fine.
Foreign Minister Dominic Raab of the United Kingdom called for a global effort to fight online threats this week, slamming nations like Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea for cyberattacks.
In a speech, he described authoritarian states as “industrial-scale vandals of the twenty-first century.”
As Britain prepares to host a G7 summit next month, Raab added, “They want to undermine the very foundations of our democracy.”