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Monday, 22 March 2021 08:48

Many systems still offline at Eastern Health after network attack Featured

Many systems still offline at Eastern Health after network attack Image by sungmin cho from Pixabay

Melbourne's Eastern Health is still experiencing what it describes as "significant impacts" due to a network attack that it announced last Wednesday.

In a statement on Friday, the organisation, which includes the Box Hill and Maroondah Hospitals, said it would contact patients as required as many of its systems were still offline.

"Eastern Health is still experiencing significant impacts related to the cyber incident," the statement said. The attack was said to have come to light last Tuesday.

"Thank you to our staff for their handwork continuing to deliver patient-centred care with many of our systems remaining off-line.

"While we rectify the situation, our contact centre is receiving a large number of calls at the moment with callers experiencing long wait times. Check our website for information and if the situation is an emergency, please call 000. Patients are being contacted directly as required."

A report from security provider Tenable highlighted the fact that attacks on healthcare organisations had increased, with Windows ransomware by far the most common cause.

It said there 293 disclosed attacks in the 14 months to the end of February 2021, which led to the leaking of about 106 million records.

"While the events of 2020 have shone a bright light on the importance of the healthcare industry, it's also revealed to cyber attackers that there's a lot to be gained by targeting the sector," said Tenable research engineer Rody Quinlan.

"Personally identifiable information is valued at around US$150 per record, making the industry a lucrative target."

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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