Cyber attacks on Israeli hospitals increased over weekend

Quick response halted attempts; no damage caused to vital systems.

By Aryeh Savir, TPS

There was an increase over the weekend in attempts at cyber-attacks against a number of hospitals and medical organizations in Israel, a joint statement from by Ministry of Health and the National Cyber Directorate said Sunday.

Early assessments show that a quick response halted the attempts and no damage was caused to the vital systems.

The Ministry of Health and the National Cyber Directorate “have been carrying out many activities in recent days with bodies in the health sector to further strengthen the level of protection while identifying new vulnerabilities that may be used for attacks and appealing to the relevant bodies to treat them,” they stated.

This statement comes after the Hillel Yaffe Medical Center’s computer system crashed Wednesday after experiencing a ransom cyberattack.

Ransomware is a type of malware deployed by hackers who threaten to publish the victim’s personal data or perpetually block access to its systems unless a ransom is paid.

The attackers have been identified as the cybercrime group known as DeepBlueMagic, which has emerged to global awareness only in recent months.

The hospital has since been working with alternative computer systems and manual registration.

“In the meantime, the work of the Cyber Center at the Ministry of Health and the National Cyber Directorate and other staff at Hillel Yaffe Hospital is continuing with the aim of gradually returning the hospital’s information systems to regular and secure operations,” the Health Ministry stated Sunday.

Ministry of Health Director-General Professor Nachman Ash sent a letter to all hospital and HMO directors on Wednesday evening warning of further cyber-attacks.

“Please ensure that there is backup information that can be used for the continuity of medical care, should such an event occur in your organization, with an emphasis on a backup that is disconnected from the hospital network, including printing the critical medical material, if necessary,” he wrote.

Last week, a Tel Aviv-based cyber security company, Cybereason, released a bombshell report that hackers working on behalf of Iran have been targeting Israeli, American and European businesses.

World Israel News staff contributed to this report.