Irish health services hit by ‘sophisticated’ cyberattack

Dublin: The Irish government’s Health Service Executive (HSE) has shut down its information technology systems after being hit with what it described as “a significant ransomware attack” on Friday.

HSE Chief Executive Paul Reid told public broadcaster RTE that the computer shutdown was necessary to protect patient data, reports dpa news agency.

“It’s quite a very sophisticated attack,” Reid said, and “is impacting all of our national and local systems”. 

“We are at the very stages of fully undertanding the threat,” Reid said. 

While the HSE said coronavirus vaccinations scheduled for Friday would proceed and ambulance services “are operating as per normal”, the National Maternity Hospital said “a major IT issue” would mean “significant disruption” to services.

Fergal Malone, master of the Rotunda Hospital, said the attacks mean his hospital will for now “revert back to old-fashioned based record-keeping”.

The Rotunda said most outpatient visits had been cancelled for Friday but said anyone “with urgent concerns” should “attend as normal”.