HSE Ireland discovers more than 5,000 cyber attack attempts at single hospital in one day

cybersecurity, NHS
“Over the weekend the HSE discovered a number of key sites that had the “wannacry” toolkit on machines. However, the work done by the team prevented this toolkit converting into the ransom ware and causing the designed level of disruption,” the latest HSE statement shows

The global cyber attack affected more than 200,000 computers systems in 150 countries, raising concerns about cybersecurity defence

[Dublin, Ireland] The HSE in Ireland have discovered more than 5,000 cyber attack attempts at a single hospital between 12-13 May, following the global ransomware incident that disrupted services at organisations across the world.

“Over the weekend the HSE discovered a number of key sites that had the “wannacry” toolkit on machines. However, the work done by the team prevented this toolkit converting into the ransomware and causing the designed level of disruption,” the latest HSE statement shows.

Furthermore, all clinical information systems were reportedly ‘re-booted’ on Tuesday in order to update security patches: “Since Friday, only one health organisation (a voluntary Section 39 organisation that is not connected to the HSE Network) has been impacted by the “wannacry” virus,” it is added in the statement.

“While the threat has abated for now, the team remains on a high state of alert for additional ‘attack attempts’ on the HSE network,” said Richard Corbridge, HSE CIO.

Impact on Wales and Scotland

Meanwhile, Andrew Griffiths, NHS Wales Informatics Service Director, has told BBC that only 37 computers out of 55,000 were affected across NHS Wales in the wake of the cyber attack.

“We understand that cybersecurity is a big issue for us. What we are doing all the time and we have been doing this for years is making sure that we are prepared for such an occasion, that we’ve got the systems, the processes and people in place to resist such an attack. Now, we never know what can happen and we are absolutely not complacent about this,” he added. 

In Scotland, Health Secretary Shona Robison confirmed in Parliament that less than 1% of computers were infected with the WannaCry virus over the weekend, adding that most services were ‘back on line and operational’ by Monday morning.

Speaking to BJ-HC, Dr Saif Abed, Founding Partner of AbedGraham, argued that a ‘forensic investigation’ is needed to assess the scale of the attack and its impact on healthcare services:

“If we see this as only a technology issue, we run the risk of not seeing the situation for what it really is; a clinical risk and patient safety issue,” he added.