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Israeli Hospitals Thwart Wave of Cyberattacks

Israeli Hospitals Thwart Wave of Cyberattacks

Nine hospitals and health care institutions across Israel came under a barrage of cyberattacks over the weekend, the National Cyber Directorate and Health Ministry announced on Sunday. The response was quick and no damage was caused, they said in a statement. Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera wasn’t so lucky; last Wednesday, it was hit with a major ransomware attack that has devastated its computer systems. The hospital is still operating, though nonessential procedures have been canceled and, when possible, new patients are being directed to other hospitals. The staff can still see patient medical records that are on a national system, but access to internal hospital records has been paralyzed, and the confidential medical information of untold numbers of patients may have been stolen. A full recovery could take months. Even if the hospital wanted to pay the ransom, thought to be $10 million, demanded by cyberattackers to regain control of their IT systems, it’s not clear that it could; Hillel Yaffe is a government hospital, and by law the government prohibited from paying ransoms. Last month, Israeli cybersecurity firm Check Point reported that the rate of cyberattacks on Israeli institutions was about double the average rate around the world and that the Israeli health care sector fends off an average of 1,443 attacks per week.

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