Irish health service hit by ransomware attack

Ireland's Health Service Executive shut down all its IT systems as a precaution to protect as much information as possible. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

DUBLIN (REUTERS, BLOOMBERG) - Ireland's health service operator shut down all its IT systems on Friday (May 14) to protect it from what it described as a significant ransomware attack but said its coronavirus vaccination programme was unaffected.

The head of the Health Service Executive (HSE) said it took the step as a precaution to protect as much information as possible and that it was assessing how the attack would affect other services.

"It's a very sophisticated attack, not just the standard attack. It is impacting all of our national and local systems that would be involved in all of our core services," HSE Chief Executive Paul Reid told national broadcaster RTE.

Rcently, US-based Colonial Pipeline paid nearly US$5 million (S$6.6 million) to Eastern European hackers in the wake of a cyberattack on the country's largest fuel pipeline. The attack saw fuel shortages and lines at gas stations along the East Coast.

From North Carolina to Florida to Alabama, gas stations reported that they were out of fuel as supplies in the region dwindled and panic buying set in. At least two gas stations in Tallahassee, Florida, were completely out of stock, according to employees who asked not to be named.

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