Cybersecurity, Ransomware Attacks and Health: Exploring the Public Health Implications of the Recent Cyberattack on Ireland’s Health Service
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In May 2021, Ireland's state healthcare system, the Health Services Executive, was the subject of a devastating ransomware attack called Conti. The malware uses a number of sophisticated tools and has effectively caused the healthcare system to go off-line for an extended period of time as the state has refused to pay the $19,999,000 ransom demand. Globally, ransomware is becoming a major issue for healthcare systems, with widespread attacks, even increasing in number during the Covid-19 pandemic. Healthcare systems may be being targeted for a number of reasons including that they are necessary to a population and may be vulnerable to compromise due to a lack of cybersecurity resources. To improve the security posture of healthcare systems a rebalancing may need to occur with potential impacts on resources available for healthcare provision and consequent impact on public health. Preventative measures regarding ransomware are presented, including what to do if an attack is discovered.
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