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Under att-hack Hackers taunt HSE with redacted files and gardai trawl dark web for patient data

Yesterday the Government warned there was "a risk that the medical and other data of patients will be abused."

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Specialist gardaí are trawling through the dark web to determine if sensitive patient data stolen from the HSE has been leaked.

It comes after redacted files appeared online with claims they were leaked by hackers to prove they have accessed sensitive data, including patient files and documents linked to business transactions.

Government sources said last night it was likely the material came from HSE IT systems.

However, this has not been confirmed and it is not uncommon for gangs to use false information to force their victims, in this case the Government, into action.

Yesterday the Government warned there was “a risk that the medical and other data of patients will be abused."

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“Any public release by the criminals behind this attack of any stolen patient data is equally and utterly contemptible,” a statement said last night. “Anyone who is affected is urged to contact the HSE and the Garda authorities.”

The statement said the ransomware attack was a “despicable” crime as it targeted “critical health infrastructure and sensitive patient data”.

A Russian-based crime group is suspected of carrying out the cyber attack which shut down the health service, and has demanded a ransom.

The hackers, known as Wizard Spider, use specific sites on the dark net to dump data in instances where their extortion demands are not met.

Detectives attached to the Garda’s National Cyber Crime Unit have been monitoring these sites on the dark web to determine if information from the HSE has been uploaded.

However, it’s understood gardaí have not come across any material which would have originated from the ransomware attack on the health service.

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Minister of State for eGovernment Ossian Smyth yesterday admitted he expects stolen HSE data to be published online. He said there is a multi-billion-euro cyber budget and that it will not be used to pay criminals.

The Russian embassy said it has not yet been approached for help by Irish authorities over the ransomware attack on the HSE. A spokeswoman strongly condemned the attack, while saying they have no way of knowing who was involved.

“The embassy condemns in the strongest terms any type of criminal act in cyber space, including this particular incident, which has caused damage to the HSE system in Ireland.

“We do not have any way to judge who the perpetrators are.

“The Irish authorities have not yet approached the embassy regarding the ransomware attack,” a statement said.

The spokeswoman added they would be prepared to assist authorities in line with the Russian government’s policy of strengthening international liaison on cyber crime.

The Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau is leading the criminal investigation and is working closely with the National Cyber Security Centre and the HSE.

The Government said it was adopting a “determined and methodical approach to resolving the impact of this attack”. Hundreds of people are working on the response to the cyber attacks.

“The HSE is continuing to make the necessary arrangements in the interim to provide the maximum possible availability of services to patients across the State.

“While the process will, inevitably, take some time, the HSE and its partners are working to ensure that the maintenance and restoration of care for patients can progress in the coming days.”

The hackers’ motivation is financial rather than any State-sponsored cause. It is currently under investigation by the FBI and has also come to the attention of the NCA in the UK.

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