Hackers on the attack on information systems

It has been brought to the public attention that the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal was affected by a computer attack deemed disturbing.

The cyberattack was reportedly aimed at stealing medical data.

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In recent times, Quebec has been plagued by a wave of computer attacks that affects almost all sectors of activity, particularly the health and public transport sector. Whether it's hospitals in health centres, police facilities or public transport, hackers are literally on the attack.

The Jewish General Hospital in Montreal had to urgently disconnect its entire computer network last Wednesday. The same is true of the CIUSSS in the West Centre of the Island of the Quebec city. The urgency was reported when it was observed that an intrusion was actually directed at the health data. Servers, Internet access, computers or any other connected machine had to be disconnected from me. To prevent the intrusion from having a slightly broader consequence. "We are practically an isolated island in the entire health care system," CIUSSS CEO Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg said at a press briefing on Thursday.

Of course such a situation with the decision that followed to create a slowdown in important services. Management acknowledges this fact, but notes that the negative effects are limited at this time. "There may be some service withdrawals, but it's really minimal. Screening centres work as usual," said Francine Dupuis, deputy CEO of the health organization. "There was no ransom or ransom demand that was made, since we cut the problem at its source. ». Says ciUSSS deputy manager of the West Centre of the Island of Montreal.

For now, the agency says it can't elaborate on any link between this intrusion and the wave of ransomware computer attacks that nearly half a dozen U.S. health facilities, particularly in New York and California, are experiencing these days. It should also be noted that 3 Ontario hospitals hospitals have been affected by similar cyber attacks. According to a recent Washington Post article, the cybercriminals behind all these attacks are active from Eastern Europe and communicate in Russian.

Currently, several teams are searching for these computer attacks. In particular, the cybersecurity team seconded by the Department of Health and Social Services, specialists from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the SQ, a technician seconded by Microsoft. They want to know everything that has happened at the level of Montreal's health institutions and find ways to restore disconnected systems sustainably and safely. According to ciUSSS vice-manager Dr Dupuis, the operation will take "a few days (…) We don't know what they're going to find, or how long it's going to take for them to find it."

"It may be a coincidence, but there is every reason to believe that what is happening in Quebec's health care system is linked to the wave of attacks we see in the United States," says Alexis Dorais-Joncas, a computer security researcher and team leader at ESET, a cybersecurity firm. "If that is the case, it is unlikely that the initial compromise occurred on Wednesday. Rather, it is the kind of attack where malware spreads through networks over time. Hackers are gradually gaining administrator privileges," he adds. Regarding the Ryuk ransomware, he notes that: "Since 2019, this ransomware has been increasingly used to attack large companies or organizations. Hackers carry out a three-phase attack to infiltrate computer networks and encrypt all the data in them. They then claim a large sum from the administrators, in exchange for which they usually release the data. ».

Investigations continue for the time being.

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