Ireland's national health service has shut down all systems as a precautionary measure due to a "massive ransomware attack," affecting patient services. Vaccination appointments can go ahead as normal today, the Health Service Executive (HSE) said on Twitter.
According to Paul Reid, head of the HSE, this is a manually carried out ransomware attack that took place on the morning of Friday. 'It's a very sophisticated attack and not a normal attack. It affects all of our national and local systems used in all of our core services," Reid told Irish radio.
Dublin's National Maternity Hospital and another birthing centre said via Twitter that services had been severely disrupted by the attack. HSE Ireland also said that the country's National Ambulance Service and emergency departments (EDs) operate normally, with no direct impact from the ransomware attack on ambulance dispatch and call handling.
The GP and Close Contact testing Referrals system is down. GPs can advise patients to attend any walk in sites if they need a test.— HSE Ireland (@HSELive) May 14, 2021
Priority will be given to symptomatic and close contacts at open walk-in testing centres. pic.twitter.com/2fJ3QKP0ST
While COVID-19 vaccine appointments are not impacted and scheduled COVID-19 tests are going ahead as planned, the HSE will not be able to refer people for COVID-19 tests until systems are brought back online.
HSE's security teams are currently investigating the incident to fully understand the effects of the incident. The ransomware attack on Ireland's HSE comes one week after Colonial Pipeline, the largest US fuel pipeline, shut down operations after the DarkSide ransomware gang breached its network.