• Ireland has shut down healthcare IT system after ransomware attack.
  • The Avaddon Ransomware is said to have been developed by Russian hackers.

The Government of Ireland has ordered the healthcare authority to shut down its computer systems after a ransomware attack happened which was similar to Avaddon Ransomware. Avaddon Ransomware recently targeted the largest US fuel pipeline network.

Although the Irish attack was blamed on international criminals was said to be targeting healthcare records, the government officials insisted that patient safety was not at risk. The Health Service Executive (HSE) Paul Reid told media that precaution of shutting down all Information Technology (IT) systems was taken in order to protect them from ransomware attack. Pulling the plug allowed HSE to fully assess the situation with their security partners.

Apologizing to patients and to the public for inconvenience, Paul Reid said that further information would be shared as became available. He stressed that Ireland’s coronavirus vaccination programme was unaffected and it would ahead as planned. Recently, a separate ransomware attack forced the shutdown of the United States’ (US) largest fuel distribution system. Shutdown lead to some panic buying at gasoline stations along the east coast.

As the ransomware attacking Ireland’s healthcare IT system is similar to the Avaddon Ransomware believed to have been developed in Russia, suspicion is moving towards Russian hackers. However, Moscow has rejected the US accusations about a Russia-based hacker group being responsible for cyber attack.

Reid said that the attack in Ireland was an internationally operated criminal operation. He assured media that the authority was working with police and the army, along with the major IT security providers working with HSE.

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