Entrance to an Irish hospital (symbol photo): The health service reports problems
Photo: Artur Widak / NurPhoto / Getty Images
The Irish health service has been hacked. The service called Health Service Executive announced on Twitter on Friday that all IT systems were shut down as a precautionary measure after a “significant ransomware attack”. Corona vaccinations did not affect the incident, it is said, planned vaccinations should take place as planned. The emergency call and the dispatch of ambulances are not affected by the problem.
Ransomware is malware that can be downloaded onto your computer or into an entire company network, for example, by opening malicious email attachments. Classic ransomware encrypts files and drives in such a case. The perpetrators offer their victims, in return for payment of a ransom ("ransom"), to provide them with a key with which the files can be decrypted again. In the meantime, there are also more and more ransomware attacks in which the attackers fish for data and, by threatening to publish it, put further pressure on the victims.
A ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline, the operator of the largest pipeline in the United States, recently made global headlines.
The hacker group Darkside is said to have been paid a ransom of the equivalent of five million dollars.
On Friday it became known that the Japanese electronics company Toshiba was blackmailed by Darkside at the beginning of May.
Clinic cancels many appointments
It is still unclear who is behind the attack in Ireland.
A maternity hospital in Dublin canceled all outpatient appointments on Friday, with one exception for "urgent matters" and for patients 36 weeks pregnant or later.
A "serious IT problem" was mentioned on the clinic's website.
There have been several ransomware attacks that paralyzed hospitals in the past.
The best-known case from Germany is an attack in which the University Hospital Düsseldorf was the target of an attack with ransomware.
Operations had to be postponed, treatments canceled, and ambulances no longer drove to the clinic.
A 78-year-old emergency patient who was about to be admitted was brought to Wuppertal in the course of the IT failure - and died after the transport.
The case made the rounds as the allegedly first ransomware attack resulting in death, with experts in retrospect assuming that the woman would have died without a detour.
During the attack in Düsseldorf, the attackers originally had the local Heinrich Heine University in their sights, as their ransom demand suggested.
It was also fitting that the attackers transmitted the decryption code as soon as it became clear that they had paralyzed a medical facility.
mbö / dpa