HSE cyber hack could cost Government 'tens of millions' to fix

HSE cyber hack could cost Government 'tens of millions' to fix

IT COULD cost Ireland "tens of millions" of euros to fix the problems caused by the cyber hack on the Health Service Executive (HSE), according to their director-general Paul Reid.

Last week, the HSE was forced to shut down all of its computer systems following what was described as a "significant ransomware attack".

Mr Reid insisted that the attack was a "serious criminal act" and that the entire HSE was comprised as a result, with thousands of appointments across the country having to be delayed or cancelled.

Speaking to RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Reid said that a "significant rebuild" of the security system was now needed, which could cost the government "tens of millions."

When asked if he knew what amount the hackers were demanding, Mr Reid said he didn't know, and was leaving the issue in the hands of security experts.

While the HSE's IT systems were immediately turned off on Friday in order to protect them, chief operating officer Anne O'Connor refused to rule out that the hackers had accessed private medical information.

"This is a very serious attack, it has really compromised our whole system, we know data has been encrypted, but we don't know what data has been taken," said Ms O'Connor.

"We don't know what data, if any, is gone. We know some data has been compromised.

"The IT teams are working to see what data has been impacted. Unfortunately we cannot give reassurance in terms of what data may or not have been stolen," she added.

Last week, an unnamed Irish doctor warned that people could be killed due to the hack, because it had sent the HSE's "back to the Stone Age".

"I cannot begin to describe how serious this is," the doctor told Extra.ie on Friday.

"We came in this morning and we couldn’t tell what patients were admitted overnight, who we had under our care or where in the hospital they were.

"When we found them, we weren’t able to look up any of their records and we weren’t even capable of pulling their charts as they’re electronically tagged.

"Patients who are presenting with very serious issues are now unlikely to be able to have the appropriate investigations or procedures done. Everything’s been cancelled.

"It’s literally just gone back to the stone age at present.

"We’re trying to get engineers in to separate all of the tech from the internet so that we can use them but at the moment, nothing is working and it’s just an utter shambles."