HSE patients’ stolen data appears online, according to reports

ireland
Hse Patients’ Stolen Data Appears Online, According To Reports
The records posted online reportedly include internal health files. Photo: iStock
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Medical and personal information about Irish patients is being shared online, according to media reports.

The Financial Times claims it has seen screenshots and files confirming that personal data has been leaked online, following the cyberattack by hackers on the HSE.

The records reportedly include internal health files, minutes of meetings, equipment purchase details and correspondence with patients.

Minister for Communications Eamon Ryan could not confirm the FT report but said it appeared “very credible”.

It was “deeply regrettable” if stolen medical and personal patient information and hospital correspondence was being shared online, he told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

The use of such tactics was standard practice for cyber criminals, he said, but it would not distract the Government from “restoring the core systems and getting patients well”.

When asked if the Department of Health had alerted the HSE about the earlier cyberattack on their system, Mr Ryan pointed out that the HSE’s system had already been compromised, possibly a week earlier, so an alert from the Department of Health would not have made a difference.

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The National Cyber Security Centre believed the “the smallest, simplest thing” like an email or a link could have allowed the criminals to infect the system, Mr Ryan said.

The Government has rejected ransom demands from the crime gang responsible and has focused on restoring all medical services as quickly as possible.

But there are concerns that if ransom demands are not met, further personal data belonging to thousands of patients could be sold online.

On Tuesday, Minister for Justice Heather Humphreys said she was “not aware” of personal data linked to the cyberattack being published online.

Asked about the files seen by the FT, gardaí said: “An Garda Síochána does not comment on unverified content on social media or provide specific commentary on any ongoing criminal investigation.”

The HSE has been asked for comment.

Rebuilding network

The development comes as the HSE said the restoration of computer systems in the health service will take “many weeks”.

Ireland
HSE cyberattack: Rebuilding of computer network co...
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While some IT systems in voluntary hospitals could return this week, it will take “several weeks” before systems in other, HSE-run hospitals return, it said.

The complete rebuilding of its computer network could take several months, sources told The Irish Times.

With major disruption set to continue, the HSE said many emergency departments were very busy and patients requiring non-urgent care could expect significant delays. Registration of births and deaths has also been hit, as details cannot be submitted by email.

Hospitals and other services have been asked to plan for operating essential services “within contingency arrangements” for the next two weeks, the HSE said in its latest update. – Additional reporting: Vivienne Clarke

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