Israeli Hospital in Hadera Still Offline a Day After Cyber-Attack!

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The Health Ministry in Israel says top experts are working ‘around the clock’ to restore full functionality at Hillel Yaffe Medical Centre.

The computer systems at Hillel Yaffe Medical Centre in Hadera, Central Israel were still down on Thurs. morning following a cyber-attack against the hospital a day earlier, according to the Israeli Health Ministry.

Israeli National Cyber Directorate

The Health Ministry stated it was working with the Israeli National Cyber Directorate & other experts “around the clock” to investigate the incident. It added that experts & equipment have been sent to the hospital “to restore the hospital’s computer systems to full function as quickly as possible.”

On Wed. morning, Hillel Yaffe said it had received no advance warning of the attack on its computer systems. Urgent medical services at the hospital were continuing as usual as it switched to alternative systems.

Pen & Paper

With computer systems down, hospital staff resorted to logging admissions with pen & paper. Severe delays in treatment were caused due to doctors having to constantly walk between departments in order to review test results.

Hillel Yaffe Medical Centre serves 100s of 1,000s of people, but the hospital explained that patients’ lives were never in danger from the cyber-attack.

Not Sure

Mickey Dudkiewicz, the director of the hospital, told Israeli 103FM radio on Thurs. morning that he was not sure when the medical centre would fully return online.

“It’s hard to estimate,” he revealed. “I hope it will be as soon as possible. The Health Ministry, the National Cyber Directorate & the best companies are all working with the experts.”

Israel’s National Cyber Directorate outlined Thurs. that, after an initial investigation, it issued a broad warning to businesses & institutions to be on high alert for cyber-attacks.

Heightened Vigilance

“Hospitals & health clinics have received instructions according to the latest developments,” stated a joint statement from the Health Ministry & the cyber directorate. “Ongoing guidelines for heightened vigilance & preparedness are being distributed as necessary.”

Health Ministry Director-General Nachman Ash suggested on Thurs. that the cyber-attack should be a wake-up call to all medical facilities in Israel.

“We must learn the lesson & better protect our health system,” Ash told the Ynet news site. “Cyber-attacks are one of the greatest threats today. It could be life-threatening.”

In a letter to hospitals around Israel, the Health Ministry urged them to print out patients’ medical files amidst fears of further cyber-attacks.

Financial Gain

Health Ministry officials told Israeli Kan news on Wed. that the hackers were likely only motivated by financial gain, & there was no indication of it being a “security-related” attack by an enemy state or otherwise.

Last month, Israeli cyber-security firm Check Point reported that Israeli institutions are targeted with about twice as many cyber-attacks as the average in other countries around the world, including the country’s health sector, which experiences an average of 1,443 attacks a week.

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