Nz: New Zealand health service hit by cyber attack

Zach Marzouk reports:

A cyber attack hit part of New Zealand’s health service this week, and now hackers who claim to be behind the attack have made contact with health officials.

The attack brought down the Waikato District Health Board’s (DHB) complete IT network on Tuesday which resulted in some appointments being cancelled.

Read more on ITPro.

The most recent update on the health board’s site as of the time of this posting reads:

UPDATE 5.30pm

Waikato DHB now has a number to call for external enquiries.

Please phone 0800 276 216

Anything that can be dealt with at the time will be done by the telephonists.

If not, they will refer onto the service to action and respond.

———

Our Information Systems team has been working throughout the night to get the Waikato DHB systems back online and have been making good progress.

Our staff are working to restore the infected systems and on the remediation process. We are working with the relevant government departments to ensure a secure environment is successfully re-established.

However, this is a complex process which will take more time to resolve. We currently have business continuity plans in place to keep our services running into the weekend.

We are currently working with other government departments to investigate the cause, but are working on the theory that the initial incursion was via an email attachment. A forensic investigation is ongoing.

This means our services across our Waikato DHB Hospitals (Waikato, Thames, Te Kuiti, Tokoroa and Taumarunui) will continue to be impacted today.

At Waikato Hospital, some elective surgeries have been deferred, while a number of outpatient clinics have been reduced.

Of 102 elective surgeries planned for inpatients at Waikato Hospital today, 73 are still going ahead.

As a result of yesterday’s disruptions, six elective surgeries were cancelled, while 95 went ahead.

Elective surgeries at Thames Hospital have been postponed and all outpatient activity at our rural hospitals have been deferred.

Anyone with queries about the urgency of their outpatient appointment should contact their GP.

Emergency Departments across all the DHB hospitals should remain for emergencies only. If it is an emergency, please continue to call 111. Otherwise, please call Healthline on 0800 611 116, contact your GP or local urgent care centre.

We want to assure the public that all of our inpatients will continue to receive the appropriate care from our hard-working staff.

We would also like to thank all of our healthcare partners, including Māori and Pacific providers, GPs, St John, our other DHBs who are providing support to our patients during this time.

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