Connect with us

Real Estate

HSE examines extent to which patient records were compromised in cyberattack

Published

on

The Health Service Executive (HSE) is currently examining to what extent patients’ medical records are among data that has been “compromised,” as a result of the major cyberattack, which has curtailed many hospital services.

Paul Reid, HSE chief executive, said officials were currently trying to determine “what level of data may have been compromised” in the ransomware attack.

The standard approach from criminal groups behind such cyberattacks was an “double extortion” attempt, to both withhold the hacked data, and also threaten to publish it online, unless a ransom was paid.

Mr Reid said the HSE was confident it had secure back-ups of all the affected data from its IT systems, allowing it to “rebuild” the infrastructure.

Work was currently looking at what systems could be brought back online, “in a safe manner one by one,” he told RTÉ’s Saturday with Katie Hannon show.

The cyberattack had been “very significant and sophisticated,” and was being dealt with by the highest level of the intelligence forces of the State, Mr Reid said.

There had been cases where organisations had paid ransoms to cyber criminals, and the data had not been returned, he said.

While the referral system for Covid-19 tests via GPs was down, people with symptoms could attend any testing centres across the country, and no longer needed a prior referral, Mr Reid said.

Close contacts of positive cases, who previously received a text, would now receive a phone call from contact tracing teams, he said.

The vaccination programme was continuing “at pace”, despite the cyberattack, and remained on target to administer more than 250,000 doses by the end of this week.

People in their 40s would hopefully be able to book their vaccine appointment by the end of next week as well, Mr Reid said.

Minister for Communications Eamon Ryan and Minister of State Ossian Smyth had a briefing on the cyberattack from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) on Saturday morning.

The Department of Communications said the NCSC was committing its “full resources” to respond to the hack, and was in contact with international partners and private contractors.

“This work will continue throughout the weekend with the focus on supporting the HSE’s recovery process in order to minimise disruption to services,” the department said.

The cyber security centre has also issued advice to other State operators of essential services to guard against any repeat attacks.

Effects

The health service will likely be impacted by the effects of the attack for the next week, as a senior Health Service Executive (HSE) official has said hospital IT systems are “some way off” being restored.

Dr Clare Faul, director of St Luke’s Radiation Oncology Network, said the cyberattack was having “a significant and ongoing impact” on services.

The IT shut down had led to radiation treatment centres ceasing services in St Luke’s, Beaumont and St James’s Hospital.

“We initiated a plan to treat all urgent patients in the private sector, which commenced on Friday and is continuing . . . We are doing everything possible to get our systems ready to treat patients with radiation again next week,” she said.

Anne O’Connor, HSE chief operations officer, on Saturday said it was in the “early stages” of rebooting some of the foundational technology, but were “some way off” having the main systems back up and running.

At present it would be at least several days before health service and hospital IT systems returned to normal, she said.

“We are definitely working on several days at the minute, and that’s if it goes well. The system at a wider level will be impacted we believe for this week,” she told RTÉ’s Brendan O’Connor Show.

“Yesterday a decision was taken to shut down all of the systems, really to protect the whole infrastructure, as of now there’s been a lot of work overnight,” she said.

“We have been working since early yesterday morning to determine first of all the impact of this attack across the board, and to see what systems are working,” she said.

On Friday, the HSE said it would not be paying the ransom demanded by the cyber criminals behind the attack, who are believed to be a criminal gang operating in another country.

It is understood the exact amount being sought in the ransom is not clear, according to one senior official.

Procedures

Several hospitals moved to cancel outpatient appointments and elective procedures in the wake of the cyberattack.

One major problem was the lack of diagnostics and access to previous test results, while the systems remained down, Ms O’Connor said.

“A really big problem here relates to diagnostics, so our whole imaging system has been affected by this . . . We have no access to previous scans, no access to previous blood results,” she said.

Hospitals had returned to pen and paper for processing results from bloods and other lab tests. “We’ve gone right back to years ago, we’ve got literally runners in the hospital bringing pieces of paper around with results,” said Ms O’Connor.

There were “different scenarios in different parts of the country,” with some hospitals more affected than others, she said.

Some voluntary hospitals were not hit as hard as a result of the HSE shutting down its IT systems, while other hospitals had been forced to cancel most outpatient appointments.

“The important thing for us is to not cancel things if we don’t need to . . . We are prioritising urgent and time-dependent work,” said Ms O’Connor.

The HSE’s online system for booking Covid-19 vaccine appointments had been restored on Saturday, meanwhile the administration of vaccinations was largely unaffected by the cyberattack.

While some appointments, such as chemotherapy and dialysis services would continue, there were widespread cancellations of others such as x-ray appointments and radiology services.

The HSE has warned delays should be expected as hospitals attempted to move to offline manual processes.

Health officials were unsure if a tech issue in Beaumont Hospital identified on Thursday was also connected to the ransomware attack.

Members of the public have been advised by the HSE that updates about changes to appointments and services will be published on its website.


Source link

Real Estate

Social Democrats activists consider deferring request on leadership contest

Published

on

A group of Social Democrats activists who want to see a leadership election in the party is looking at deferring their request to consider such a contest until after a new general secretary is appointed to the party.

A draft letter to the party’s national executive, signed by two councillors and 14 others, seeking the leadership contest emerged on Friday evening.

The letter, which has not been sent to party authorities, requested the national executive meet to hold a vote to call a leadership election.

It pays tribute to the party’s current co-leaders Catherine Murphy and Róisín Shortall, who it states “have done exceptional work”, but adds that “it is now time to move to the next stage”.

The party released a statement later the same evening saying its TDs are “united behind co-leaders Catherine Murphy and Róisín Shortall”. This statement was shared on Twitter by all six of the party’s Dáil Deputies.

One of the councillors who signed the draft letter, Kildare representative Chris Pender, responded with his own social media post saying: “Anyone who’s read the letter will know it states we don’t have an issue with the leaders, but we believe in the democratic right to vote for that/those leaders.

“A leadership contest would give members the opportunity to show support for the current leaders, if that’s what they want.”

Cllr Cat O’Driscoll, who sits on Dublin City Council, was the other public representative who signed the draft letter.

Motivations

Sources insisted the motivations behind seeking a contest include giving the Social Democrats’ membership a say in who leads the party, as well as an issue of timing. They say with no general election expected imminently, it would give the next leader time to prepare.

It was also revealed on Friday that Brian Sheehan, a former director of the Yes Equality campaign, is to step down from his role as Social Democrats general secretary in early September. The decision is not connected with the call for a leadership election and those behind the draft letter were unaware of Mr Sheehan’s decision to leave the job.

However, it has prompted a rethink of the request for a leadership contest.

The Irish Times understands the activists are considering a new version of the letter that takes Mr Sheehan’s departure into account and would not seek a discussion about a leadership contest until after his successor is in place and has had some time in the job. A source suggested the approach with any new letter would be “a bit more cautious”.

On Monday, a party spokeswoman ruled out any contest for the leadership, either before or after the appointment of a new general secretary.

“The rules of the party state any leader must be a TD and all of our TDs are united in their support for the party leadership. The general secretary position is entirely unrelated to the party leadership,” she said.

Ms Murphy and Ms Shortall have jointly led the Social Democrats since its establishment in 2015.


Source link

Continue Reading

Real Estate

Instagrammer captures abandoned Welsh property in series of eerie photographs

Published

on

Who would live in a house like this? Instagrammer photographs abandoned Welsh property – complete with a bottle of Champagne for ‘Grandad’s’ 90th birthday, dishes still in the sink and a newspaper dating back to 1956

  • Photographs reveal the rooms have been untouched for decades and house opened bottle of Champagne  
  • Discovery was made by Instagrammer Kyle Urbex while exploring the countryside in Flintshire, North Wales 
  • Kyle said: ‘Overall the whole exploration just left me wondering the whole backstory’ 
  • ***Do YOU know who lived in the abandoned house? Contact izzy.nikolic@mailonline.co.uk*** 

Advertisement

An abandoned Welsh house has been captured in a series of eerie photographs complete with a bottle of Champagne for ‘Grandad’s’ 90th birthday and dishes still in the sink.  

Photographs reveal rooms that have been untouched for decades and reveal a bottle of bubbly with a sticker which reads: ‘Happy 90th Birthday. Sorry I can’t be there to drink this with you! Lots of love James xxx.’  

The property has been dubbed ‘Granddad’s abandoned house’ after it was discovered tucked away in the woods. 

A piano can also be seen with sheet music still in place along with clothes hanging up and dishes still in the sink.

Photographs reveal rooms that have been untouched for decades and reveal a bottle of bubbly with a sticker which reads: 'Happy 90th Birthday. Sorry I can't be there to drink this with you! Lots of love James xxx'

Pictured: A piano can also be seen with sheet music still in place along with clothes hanging up

Photographs reveal rooms that have been untouched for decades and reveal a bottle of bubbly with a sticker which reads: ‘Happy 90th Birthday. Sorry I can’t be there to drink this with you! Lots of love James xxx’

The property has been dubbed 'Granddad's abandoned house' after it was discovered tucked away in the woods. Pictured: The exterior of the property

The property has been dubbed ‘Granddad’s abandoned house’ after it was discovered tucked away in the woods. Pictured: The exterior of the property 

Random debris including a broken bicycle, piping, empty tins and folding tables and chairs were left strewn throughout the house

The discovery was made by Instagrammer Kyle Urbex (pictured) while he was exploring the countryside in Flintshire, North Wales

Random debris including a broken bicycle, piping, empty tins and folding tables and chairs were left strewn throughout the house

Mr Urbex said: 'I visited the property just over four weeks ago and getting to the actual location wasn't too bad, just a walk up a small hill and the door was wide open'

Mr Urbex said: ‘I visited the property just over four weeks ago and getting to the actual location wasn’t too bad, just a walk up a small hill and the door was wide open’

The discovery was made by Instagrammer Kyle Urbex while he was exploring the countryside in Flintshire, North Wales.

Kyle also spotted a newspaper dating back to 1956 in what he believes was once someone’s ‘dream family home.’

He said: ‘I visited the property just over four weeks ago and getting to the actual location wasn’t too bad, just a walk up a small hill and the door was wide open.

‘Once inside I instantly saw the whole location was eerie because it was a house full to the brim of memories, ranging from clothes in the bedroom to old decaying pianos which once may have entertained many.

‘The porch area had been trashed, however the seating still remained intact and of course the champagne bottle for his 90th birthday still left on the fireplace.

He added: 'Once inside I instantly saw the whole location was eerie because it was a house full to the brim of memories, ranging from clothes in the bedroom to old decaying pianos which once may have entertained many'

Dishes are left undone in the sink in the kitchen

He added: ‘Once inside I instantly saw the whole location was eerie because it was a house full to the brim of memories, ranging from clothes in the bedroom to old decaying pianos which once may have entertained many’

Kyle says he has now been left wondering about the story behind the house. He added: ‘While the place appears to have been ransacked by vandals, clothes still hang in wardrobes; one of the few signs of the home it once was’

Kyle also spotted a newspaper dating back to 1956 in what he believes was once someone's 'dream family home'

Kyle also spotted a newspaper dating back to 1956 in what he believes was once someone’s ‘dream family home’

Mr Urbex added: 'Overall the whole exploration just left me wondering the whole backstory and how somebody could just leave so much memories and cherished possessions behind'

Mr Urbex added: ‘Overall the whole exploration just left me wondering the whole backstory and how somebody could just leave so much memories and cherished possessions behind’

‘I found it quite sad really given all the memories just left to be forgotten about. As well as the house there was a caravan hidden at the back in all the overgrowth which had more memories inside, old books and so on.

‘I managed to uncover an old bike in the shed which looked like it had been there quite a while.

‘Alongside all of these findings I came across a newspaper dated from November 3 1956.’

Kyle says he has now been left wondering about the story behind the house.

He added: ‘While the place appears to have been ransacked by vandals, clothes still hang in wardrobes; one of the few signs of the home it once was.

‘Overall the whole exploration just left me wondering the whole backstory and how somebody could just leave so much memories and cherished possessions behind.’

Advertisement

Source link

Continue Reading

Real Estate

Foley to bring school reopening plan to Cabinet on Tuesday

Published

on

Minister for Education Norma Foley says she has every confidence schools will reopen fully from late August and early September.

Ms Foley said there was ongoing engagement between her department and public health officials on the matter but all schools were set to reopen.

Strong mitigation measures would be in place in schools to ensure that they would continue to be controlled environments, she told RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show on Monday.

Covid-19 infection rates among children were at their highest when children were not at school and public health experts had pointed out “on a consistent basis to schools being a very significantly controlled environment”.

The safe operation of the Leaving Certificate exams and enhanced summer camps indicated that the safe operation of education could be maintained, she said.

A plan would be put in place to allow schools to “draw down” CO2 monitors and the Minister said she was confident there would be enough monitors for all schools by the start of the new school year.

In relation to Covid-19 vaccines for children, Ms Foley said the “expertise” lay with the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) from which her department would take guidance.

“I have received confirmation that the 16 to 18-year-old cohort should be in a position for online registration in the coming days, and I have been advised that the 15-year-olds cohort are still being considered by NIAC and there has been no definitive timeline given,” she added.

Ms Foley will bring a plan to Cabinet on Tuesday outlining enhanced public information campaigns, the outcome of antigen testing pilots, and the purchase of C02 monitors to assist in ventilating classrooms.

Capacity limits on school transport services will also remain in place.

Government sources were adamant on Sunday that second-level education would resume in the autumn, despite concerns among public-health officials that the wave could grow following the reopening of indoor dining today, before peaking in September.

“Schools will reopen,” a senior Coalition source said.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates 
directly on your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!