AIIMS restores data  6 days after cyber-attack, says services will take time to resume

INDIA — The All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi has said that the eHospital data has been restored on its servers, six days after they were hacked in a cyber-attack, reported ANI.

Restoration of the online services was taking time as the attack involved a large volume of data and multiple servers, the country’s premier state-run medical college and hospital said in a statement.

AIIMS authorities said they have deployed additional staff to run diagnostics, labs, and OPD services at the national medical institute as its servers remained suspended due to a suspected ransomware attack.

All hospital services, including outpatient, in-patient, laboratories, etc. continue to run on manual mode,” it added.

It is feared that the data of around three-four hundred thousand patients could have been compromised due to the breach detected on November 23.

Due to the cyber-attack on November 23, several patient care services at the institute had been disrupted.

The National Informatics Centre had said that the incident was a ransomware attack, in which hackers demand money to restore access to online services.

The police, however, said that AIIMS authorities had not got any ransomware demand, reported The Times of India. The police had registered a case of extortion and cyber terrorism on November 25.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) also joined the ongoing investigation into the alleged malware attack, with agencies including the India Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN), Delhi Police, Intelligence Bureau, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), already probing the incident.

A case of extortion and cyber terrorism was registered by the Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations Unit of Delhi Police on November 25.

On November 28, Delhi Police issued a statement affirming that “no ransom as being quoted by certain sections of the media has been brought to notice by AIIMS authorities.”

The hospital authorities have suspended two system analysts due to certain procedural lapses. They have also been served show-cause notices for alleged dereliction of duty.

Cyberattacks on healthcare systems have spiked during the pandemic, threatening patient care and private data.

The ransomware attack on AIIMS is like numerous others that have hit hundreds of hospitals in recent years: Hackers gain entry to a computer system, encrypt the files that run it, and then demand payment for a decryption key to unlock access.

More than 1 in 3 healthcare organizations globally reported being hit by ransomware in 2020, according to a survey of IT professionals.

What’s more, the sector experienced a 45% uptick just since November 2020, according to HealthITSecurity.

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