Republic of Ireland news

No evidence of mass dumping of HSE data stolen during cyber attack, Taoiseach says

HSE boss Paul Reid has said fixing the damage to the health service’s IT systems following the cyber attack will costs “tens of millions” of euro
Cate McCurry, PA

There has been “no great evidence” of any mass dumping of patient data stolen from the HSE in a cyber attack, the Taoiseach has said.

The HSE and the government are preparing for the release of data stolen by the criminal gang behind the ransomware attack.

Micheál Martin said multiple teams, including the National Cyber Security Centre, the gardaí and the HSE, are monitoring the threat “very closely”.

He said there is “no great evidence yet” of any mass dumping of data.

Mr Martin urged people to be cautious of criminals taking advantage of fears around the HSE attack by contacting them to attempt to obtain information or payments.

“If anybody has any suspicions, if anybody comes across any data and you see it, don’t share it, report it,” Mr Martin added.

“There’s two strands to this – fundamentally we want to get services back as quick as we possibly can.

“Progress has been made on that, the (decryption) key that was given back is helping.”

Mr Martin said services are returning to some hospitals on a gradual basis including The Mater, Tallaght, St James and Beaumont.

The Fianna Fáil leader said the government will not be paying the gang the ransom to stop the publication of the data.

“It’s a despicable act to steal someone’s data,” he added.

“They may not have realised that they had taken on an entire state or government or health service, but the data is perhaps where they see some value.

“So far we haven’t seen any significant dumping of data.

“This attack is criminal, these are criminals and will seek to exploit this data, but again, we’ve had very good co-operation with social media companies who’ve been very proactive with the government and have agreed to shut down anything and take it down as quickly as they see anything.

“We have a High Court injunction as well, which makes it fundamentally illegal to engage in this type of activity and behaviour.”

He admitted that the health service has always been vulnerable to a cyber attack, adding that he queried the Republic of Ireland’s cyber protection with various people at senior levels when he became Taoiseach.

He said that while the budget for cyber security has increased in recent years, the government needs to do more.

Mr Martin also said that Poland and the UK have been helpful throughout the attack.

Anyone who believes or suspects they have been victims of this cyber attack is urged to make a report at their local garda station or through the garda confidential line.

The line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 1800 666 111.

The ransomware attack has resulted in the HSE having to close down all its IT services, causing widespread delays and the cancellation of appointments at hospitals across the country.

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