'Steady progress' being made on restoring HSE IT systems

While it may still be many weeks before the HSE’s computers are fully restored, technicians are said to be pleased with the progress being made using a decryption key provided by the attackers.
'Steady progress' being made on restoring HSE IT systems

Digital Desk Staff

There is expected to be “steady progress” in restoring Health Service Executive (HSE) systems and services in the coming days following the devastating cyberattack earlier this month.

As The Irish Times reports, while it may still be many weeks before the HSE’s computers are fully restored, technicians are said to be pleased with the progress being made using a decryption key provided by the attackers.

Government sources said there was still no evidence that stolen data on patients and staff had been published on the internet, despite a warning by the criminal gang behind the attack that this would happen on Monday.

The ministerial taskforce overseeing the State’s response is meeting daily to be updated on efforts to recover from the ransomware attack.

A source said there had been “steady, careful progress” with the decryption tool with “more services likely to resume in the next 48 hours”. They cautioned that the “entire process is likely to take weeks”.

Another source said the “technical team are happy with what they’re doing” and some of the HSE’s core systems were back in operation, albeit they needed to be tested before services were resumed for the public.

Decryption key

According to the source: “A substantial number of HSE systems are likely to go online in the next 48 hours with the progress from the decryption key.”

The criminal gang behind the attack had given the Government until Monday to pay a €16.4 million ransom to stop it publishing or selling what it claims is 700 gigabytes of stolen data.

The Government has insisted no ransom will be paid and a source on Monday night said the State had to “assume the worst-case scenario and plan for that”.

The Department of Justice and gardaí have been preparing for the possibility that the data will be released.

The source pointed to measures like the court order secured by the HSE last week and how it will help reduce the spread of any such data on social media as the tech companies are on notice that they have to remove it.

It is understood that scenarios that have been considered include the possibility that the data will be dumped online in one go as a warning to others to pay ransoms in future or it could be published in a “drip, drip” manner in a bid to ramp up pressure on the Government.

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