The hospital has “no idea” of the extent of the ravages of cyber attacks; recovery could take months – .

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The hospital has “no idea” of the extent of the ravages of cyber attacks; recovery could take months – .


A day after falling victim to the largest cyberattack in history against the Israeli healthcare system, Hillel Yaffe Medical Center still has no idea of ​​the extent of the damage and does not know when it will be able to resume normal activities , according to a senior official. .

Dr Amnon Ben Moshe, administrative director of the Hadera institution, said staff still do not have access to the main systems used to view and update hospital medical records, and for administration.

The hospital was hit by a still unresolved ransomware attack on Wednesday, forcing it to shut down its tech network and causing delays in care.

“We are in a similar situation to yesterday, when we identified the situation and saw the cyber attacks,” he told The Times of Israel.

Asked about the current situation, Ben Moshe said: “We don’t know the extent of the damage. Regarding the time to return to normal, he said: “We have no idea. We just worked all night.

Cyber ​​security experts say the process could be very long.

Ido Geffen, vice president of CyberMDX, an Israeli startup that provides cybersecurity solutions for medical devices and clinical assets, told The Times of Israel that full data recovery could take months.

Einat Meyron, cybersecurity consultant and cyber resilience expert, said: “There is a long way to go before recovery. We saw similar events in the United States, Belgium and Portugal, for example, where hospitals were attacked, and it took them about three to six months just to get to a point where they could start working. [normally] again. “

Channel 12 reported on Thursday that the attackers had left an email address on the attacked servers. An outside company acting on behalf of the hospital contacted the hackers, who demanded $ 10 million in ransom.

The report noted that as a public hospital, they were prohibited from paying ransoms.

A room at Hillel Yaffe Medical Center on October 14, 2021, as staff try to do so. manage without regular computer systems (courtesy Hillel Yaffe Medical Center)

At Hillel Yaffe, some non-emergency procedures have been canceled, but the bulk of the hospital’s work continues, using alternative computer systems, some of which have been specially installed. The ability of physicians to access nationally held patient records that include their medical history (as opposed to internal hospital records) has not been interrupted. Indeed, Hillel Yaffe recently introduced portable devices that offer this access.

Hospital management congratulated its staff for coping well with the new challenges, in a statement Thursday. “Along with the efforts of cyber and IT experts to rehabilitate IT systems and investigate the incident, medical work is continuing and our teams are providing a very good response to existing challenges.

Cyber ​​security experts say the attack, while serious, could have been worse. “In this attack, we know it came from the Internet, which means that an attacker had access to a password and then was able to gain access to the network,” Geffen said. “The good thing is that no medical devices or critical equipment have been affected, to our knowledge. In similar attacks in the United States and Europe, critical devices to which patients were connected have indeed been affected and it is a much worse situation.

He added: “Right now, the hospital is likely in a containment phase, making sure the attack does not spread and trying to make sure all critical operations are still functioning. Then comes the investigation and recovery phase to determine what exactly happened and try to recover the data.

This is a long process if the hospital is to ensure that no ‘back door’ – malicious software through which unauthorized users can bypass security measures and regain access. is left in place.

“It can take months because it is a careful operation to make sure that the hackers did not leave any back doors,” Geffen said.

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