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What the Irish Health Service Disruption Proves About Data Restoration

What the Irish Health Service Disruption Proves About Data Restoration

This past May, Ireland’s Health Service Executive—the organization responsible for providing healthcare and social services to the country’s residents—was successfully targeted by a major ransomware attack. Unfortunately, we are still talking about it now because the entire situation has forced us to acknowledge the aftereffects of such an event.

Let’s look at what has happened, and what we can take away from this situation as a result.

What Happened to HSE?

Back on May 14th, the Health Service Executive was successfully targeted by a ransomware attack leveled against it by who is believed to be the Conti ransomware gang. While the health service was given the decryption tool for free, those responsible for the attack also threatened to release sensitive patient information unless a ransom of $20 million was paid in the form of Bitcoin. While initially vowing not to pay this ransom, the company ultimately did so (something that we really, really don’t recommend) and received a decryption key.

Unfortunately, the situation is far from over for HSE.

Data Restoration is Far from a Simple Process

Here’s the gist of it all: even with a working decryption key, restoring a business’ entire network is not a simple task. HSE can vouch for this, as months later there are technology constraints that still exist (at the time of this writing, at least) that have led to delayed or outright canceled appointments.

Why? Simple: restoring (or in this case, decrypting) data requires more than just restoring (or decrypting) the data—as well as the fact that decrypting data takes longer than encrypting it does. After all, you don’t want to just restore your data without addressing the vulnerability that allowed the ransomware access in the first place. This means that you also need to identify and shore up these vulnerabilities so that later attacks can’t take advantage of them.

Businesses and organizations operating in all industries, not just healthcare, need to make a point of prioritizing their essential data and ensuring that they have the means in place to restore it should the worst happen. Unfortunately, when we refer to “the worst,” it can take many different forms: from ransomware attack, to user error, hardware failure, or natural disaster. This makes it necessary to proactively implement the protections required to prevent an assortment of data issues and other operational problems.

Amongst our many services, SMG Business Solutions Ltd also offers the kind of assistance modern establishments need to ensure their data remains available to them. How could we assist you? Give us a call at 020 7898 3500 today to find out.

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