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Cyber-attack: Thousands of HSE computers and laptops may have to replace

DUBLIN: The HSE may have to replace thousands of computers and laptops that have been dysfunctional as a result of cyber-attack. According to CEO Paul Reid, the HSE expects to replace 30,000 laptops that were “victims” of the attack, in the initial phase.

“In the initial phases we felt it could be up to about 30,000 laptops [to replace]. We’re screening more of those as we progress to get into a ‘stage green’ safer level, so we don’t believe it may be that scale just now but it could be in that scale,” Mr. Reid said.

“This is horrendous for our staff and it’s extremely difficult for many people coming to our services, experiencing delays,” he added.

The actual scale of the replacement would include 2,000 systems, 5,000 national servers, several systems that interconnect across those servers and access users ranging from 80,000 to 120,000, HSE chief said.

“So it’s combination of having to restore national systems and every one of those national systems has to go through a verification process via international ICT providers who are working with us. Every one of those national systems, every one of those 5,000 servers has to go through a renewal process before they’re put back on the network,” Paul Reid said.

Progress in restoring the systems

According to the latest HSE update, 33% of servers are now decrypted and 58% of end-user devices are now connected. Significant progress has been made in restoring patient management services. There are now 48 sites with fully functional applications, while two others have limited functionality. Meanwhile, St Luke’s Hospital and Royal Victoria Eye and Ear hospital remain without function.

Diagnostic imaging, such as x-rays, is also being restored, with 38 sites now having fully functional solutions. There are currently 28 laboratories in operation. The HSE said it had sought the support of private companies for the service.

All email domains are operational, with the exception of those in the north east and north west. However, the return of email varies significantly across the country. Remote connectivity is now available, allowing staff to work remotely again.

Waiting for a final report

Mr. Reid said that HSE now has a better understanding of how the cyber-attack occurred and that they are awaiting the final report from the international agency that has been assisting them. He added that the HSE Board is finalising the details of this independent report which will be commissioned.

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