Ireland shuts down health IT system after ransomware attack

Dublin: Ireland’s health authority said Friday it had shut down its computer systems after experiencing a “significant ransomware attack”.

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

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“We apologise for inconvenience caused to patients and to the public and will give further information as it becomes available,” it added, stressing Ireland’s coronavirus vaccination programme was unaffected and “going ahead as planned”.

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Another ransomware attack last Friday forced the shutdown of the United States’ largest fuel pipeline network, leading to some panic buying at gasoline stations along the east coast.

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Moscow has rejected US accusations that a Russia-based group was behind the cyber attack.

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HSE chief executive Paul Reid told state broadcaster RTE the attack was “quite a significant one”, and the body was working with its major IT security providers.

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“We are at the very early stages of fully understanding the threat,” he said, adding it was trying to “contain” the issue.

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The Rotunda maternity hospital in Dublin said all outpatient visits were cancelled other than for women who were at least 36 weeks pregnant “due to a serious IT issue”.

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