System Hacked Due to Weak Software, Firewalls; Multi-agency Probe Launched

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The AIIMS system in Delhi remained out of service for the second consecutive day after it was hacked on Wednesday. A multi-agency probe was launched and Delhi Police registered a case in the matter, in the first major cyberattack on any medical database in India.

The servers for NIC’s eHospital have been down since 7 am on Wednesday. A team from the NIC working at AIIMS has speculated the attack may have been caused by ransomware. Top intelligence sources told CNN-News18 that the AIIMS system was hacked due to weak anti-virus softwares and firewalls. The building where the system was hacked catered to VVIPs and VIPs, sources said.

According to sources, these systems contained confidential data as well as new research and development. The authorities said they could not procure new systems due to bureaucratic delay as the Government e-marketplace was the only agency for buying, sources said, adding that data recovery was on and agencies were hopeful of a solution.

Amid the cyber security scare, all emergency, routine patient care and laboratory services are being managed manually, as per a statement issued by the AIIMS. With the server being down, the outpatient and inpatient digital hospital services, including smart lab, billing, report generation and the appointment system, remained affected, said an AIIMS official.

“Various government agencies are investigating the incident and supporting the AIIMS in bringing back the digital patient care services. We hope to be able to restore the affected activities soon,” a press statement read.

Sources further said India Computer Emergency Response Team, Delhi Police, Intelligence Bureau, Central Bureau of Investigation and ministry of home affairs were probing the incident.

“Backups of the eHospital database and the Laboratory Information System database have been taken on external hard drives and on the advice of the investigating teams, the AIIMS internet services have been stopped,” a source told news agency PTI.

Delhi Police registered a case in the ransomware attack soon after the hospital authorities approached the south district police, which then transferred the matter to the Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations unit.

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