HSE chief details impact of 'stomach-churning' cyberattack

Hse Chief Details Impact Of 'Stomach-Churning' Cyberattack
Paul Reid, © PA Archive/PA Images
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By Rebecca Black, PA

The head of Ireland’s health service has described the “catastrophic” impact of a “stomach-churning” cyberattack on its system.

The number of appointments in some areas of the system has dropped by 80 per cent as health workers grapple with paper records while work continues to recover IT systems.


HSE chief executive Paul Reid criticised the IT systems hack as a “callous act” and an attack on health workers who have been working “relentlessly” through the coronavirus pandemic.

This is in essence the rebuilding of a legacy network of 30 years

He told an HSE media briefing on Thursday that the response has been “comprehensive” since last Friday and will “continue to be relentless”.

However, he said work to undo the damage will continue into the coming weeks.


“We are now in the assessment phase where we’re assessing all across the network… to understand the impacts across the network,” he said.

Mr Reid said there are 2,000 systems used by the health service and more than 4,500 servers.

“This is in essence the rebuilding of a legacy network of 30 years,” he said.

The briefing heard the impact on services included a reduction by 70 per cent to 80 per cent in outpatient appointments each day.


Random demanded

The criminal gang responsible for last week's cyberattack on the HSE's IT systems is threatening to release the stolen data online if the ransom demanded is not paid by Monday, May 24th.

HSE cyber attack: Gang threatens to release data i...
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The gang asked for $20 million in bitcoin, according to The Irish Times, however, the Government and the HSE have both stated it will not be paid, in line with State policy.

Speaking to RTÉ's News at One, acting Minister for Justice Heather Humphreys said no ransom request has been directly received by the Government, but reaffirmed if a request was made it would not be paid.

Mr Reid has said that if the ransom was paid, Irish authorities would be giving money to a group who could then use the funds to further strengthen their hacking capabilities.


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