Ireland Refuses to Pay Ransom After Health Service Attack
The HSE, Ireland’s national health service, has temporarily taken its IT systems offline following a ransomware attack.
The attack is significant, according to HSE, and the IT systems were shut down as a precaution. As a result, some services, including COVID-19 tests, were also interrupted. The vaccination program and most emergency services do not appear to be affected.
According to the Irish government, the attack is the work of an international group of cybercriminals. “This wasn’t espionage. It was an international attack, but this is just a gang of cybercriminals looking for money,” said Ossian Smyth, Ireland’s digital government minister on the Irish channel RTE. Prime Minister Micheál Martin added that the country has no intention of paying the ransom.
The gang allegedly demanded a ransom in bitcoin after a ransomware attack that, among other things, managed to encrypt the data on HSE’s central servers, according to RTE. However, no patient data would have been leaked.
The attack became known on Thursday evening, and on Friday, the HSE shut down its IT systems. The investigation was still ongoing on Sunday evening, the government writes in a statement. Meanwhile, the Irish Times reports a second attack on Ireland’s Department of Health during the same period, allegedly at the hands of the same gang.