Hospital cuts itself off from internet

Tauranga Hospital isolated itself from the internet over the weekend due to a cyber security threat. File photo.

Tauranga Hospital put itself in self-imposed isolation from the internet over the weekend, due to a cyber security threat.

A global ransomware attack, which infected more than 230,000 computers across 150 countries in the past few days, was deemed too much of a risk to hospital computers for them to remain online.

BOPDHB information management general manager Owen Wallace says they took a number of steps to protect themselves.

“As part of that process the DHB did reduce access to the internet, including turning off web browsing and external email access for a period from Saturday night through to mid-afternoon Sunday.

“This was a precautionary measure taken at a time where such action would least inconvenience the services of the DHB whilst enabling technical staff to focus on checking the status of system protections.”

He stresses there were no impacts on patient services as a result of this measure.

“Compared to the potential impact of a successful cyber security attack on health services, it was considered appropriate.

“This was reflected in similar actions being taken by a number of other DHBs across the country.”

The ransomware attack, known as ‘WannaCry', involves locking and encrypting a user's computer files, threatening to delete them unless a ‘ransom' is paid in bitcoins to the developers of the virus.

Such viruses can often be avoided by not opening suspicious emails, and by keeping operating systems such as Windows up to date.



3 Comments

Being safe

Posted on 16-05-2017 17:44 | By The Sage

However if you have to go to that extent you need a new IT Department. My understanding is that those who do their updates and have proper security in place will be OK. That however relies on the staff operating it not doing downloads and opening unsafe attachments.

Interesting

Posted on 16-05-2017 17:32 | By astex

Considering that Microsoft issued a patch in march to counter this problem it can only be assumed that the hospital is running an outdated system not supported any longer.

Smart!

Posted on 16-05-2017 15:06 | By jed

But even better is not to open email attachments. I don't get why people still do this despite several decades of publicity !!! Yet, tomorrow, someone else will click on an attachment and be infected .

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