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Ransomware Attack on Irish Health Service and Update on Colonial Pipeline

In a chilling reminder of the Wannacry attack that hit the UK NHS in 2017; the Irish Health Service (HSE) is today dealing with a major ransomware attack .  The Health Service Executive has announced that it has closed down its IT systems in order assess the situation and to prevent any further damage.

It is reported that ambulance services are operating as normal, and hospitals are maintaining critical services; but the loss of IT systems is impacting severely on routine activity, with many hospitals cancelling outpatient clinics.  In addition, the Irish child and family agency, Tusla, said its IT systems are not operating as a result of the attack, as the agency is hosted on the HSE network.

The HSE has said it has been attacked with Conti ransomware, the same strain used to attack the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) at the end of 2020.  Previous Conti attacks have involved ransoms being demanded for both decrypting the data and not publishing sensitive information on the internet.

Meanwhile, it is being reported that Colonial Pipeline paid a $5m dollar ransom for a tool to decrypt its data following the ransomware attack reported earlier in the week.