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Systems Shut Down in Victorian Hospitals After Suspected Cyber Attack

Regional hospital computer networks have been hacked in a ransomware attack but government insists patient information is safe

Procedures may be delayed as the hospitals affected by the cyber attack revert to manual contact and booking systems.

Surgeries and outpatient care will be delayed after regional Victorian hospital computer networks were hacked in a ransomware attack.

The government said personal patient information had not been accessed.

Hospitals that are a part of the Gippsland Health Alliance and of the South West Alliance of Rural Health have been impacted.

“There will be some disruption to outpatient appointments, there’ll be some disruption for non-urgent care, so elective surgery,” Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, told reporters on Tuesday.

However emergency procedures will not be affected, he said.

“The Victorian cyber incident response service has been deployed and worked with impacted health services overnight to respond to the attack,” the Department of Premier and Cabinet said in a statement.

“The cyber incident, which was uncovered on Monday, has blocked access to several systems by the infiltration of ransomware, including financial management.”

A “number” of servers across the state were hit and investigations were under way to reveal the extent.

But the government said: “At this time there is no suggestion that personal patient information has been accessed.”

Hospitals had isolated and disconnected a number of systems, such as the internet.

“This isolation has led to the shutdown of some patient record, booking and management systems, which may impact on patient contact and scheduling,” the statement said.

“Where practical, hospitals are reverting to manual systems to maintain their services.

“The affected hospitals are now working on their bookings and scheduling to minimise impact on patients, but may need to reschedule some services where they don’t have computer access to patient histories, charts, images and other information.”

Since launching 14 months ago, the Victorian government’s cyber incident response service has responded to more than 600 cyber attacks on Victorian government bodies.

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Australian Associated Press

Mon 30 Sep 2019 21.42 EDT

First published on Mon 30 Sep 2019 21.21 EDT

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