Ireland shuts down health service computer systems after cyber attack

The Irish health service is also said to have been the target of a cyber attack. It was initially unclear who was behind the attack.

A numeric code runs across a screen.

Dhe Irish health service has been the target of a cyber attack. The health service announced on Twitter on Friday that the company’s own IT systems were shut down as a precautionary measure after a “significant ransomware attack”. However, corona vaccinations are not affected by the failure, they should take place as planned. The situation will be examined further, it said. It was initially unclear who was behind the attack.

Numerous hospitals had to cancel routine appointments due to the attack and could only work to a limited extent. Anne O’Connor of the State Health Service HSE told Irish broadcaster RTÉ on Friday afternoon that “if this continues until Monday we will be in a very serious situation and we will be canceling many appointments”. “Right now we can’t access the lists of people scheduled for Monday appointments so we don’t even know who to cancel,” she said.

In so-called ransomware attacks, data on computers is encrypted – and the attackers usually demand a ransom for the release. Ossian Smyth, Irish Minister for E-Government, told RTE: “This is not espionage. It was an international attack, but this is just a cybercriminal gang looking for money. ”

The Japanese technology group Toshiba Corp has also been the victim of an extortionate hacker attack in Europe. Toshiba Tec, a manufacturer of payment systems and copiers, was hacked by “DarkSide” in early May, the company’s French representative said on Friday. This group of hackers is suspected of having paralyzed the fuel pipeline system of Colonial Pipeline in the USA. As the representation in France further explained, only a minimal amount of work data was lost. Toshiba Tec’s European headquarters in Neuss could not be reached for an inquiry.

The number of cyberattacks, in which hackers encrypt data and only release it again for a fee, has increased. The blackmailers also steal data and publish it or threaten to do so. Meanwhile, the corporate headquarters in Japan announced a strategy review with the aim of increasing the company’s value.