Disruption to Health Services from cyber-attack seriously concerning

14 May 2021
  • Investment in IT infrastructure and security essential.
  • Back up plans for patient appointments and services needed.
  • Weaknesses in HSE IT systems previously highlighted.

With much detail of the HSE ransomware attack still unknown, Labour Party Leader and Health spokesperson Alan Kelly said it is essential that the public are reassured that services will be maintained as much as possible and investments made to protect from future attacks.

Deputy Kelly said:

“We don’t know the full details of what happened with this ransomware attack, when it will be resolved or where the weakness in HSE IT systems were but the potential and real disruption to our health services is seriously concerning.

“Over the weekend the Government must move to reassure the public that all is being done to resolve this, and that back up plans will be put in place for services and patient appointments as waiting lists are already long enough.

“I have no doubt that staff in our health service will rise to the challenge of overcoming this attack. but serious questions will have to be asked about how this happened and what we must do to protect from future attacks. An audit must be carried out of all key networks and state services to ensure our protections are as robust as possible. If we need to hire more expertise, and better resource the National Cyber Security Centre, and our Defence Forces then the investment must be made. This issue has been raised with the government in recent years by the Labour Party.

“Just last December and as far back as 2019 I highlighted that thousands of HSE computers were using out of date software that could potentially leave them vulnerable to attack due to a lack of ongoing support for Windows 7. This is an example of how important it is to ensure our IT systems are robust and protected.”

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