Health System Prepares for More Cyberattacks

(Reuters/Kacper Pempel/File Photo)

Israel’s health system is preparing for cyberattacks on its digital services after the Hillel Yaffe Hospital in Chadera was attacked on Wednesday with a ransomware-type attack that shut down its information systems.

Health Ministry Director-General Professor Nachman Ash sent a letter to all hospital and HMO directors on Wednesday evening updating that the National Cyber Directorate is working to bring Hillel Yaffe’s information systems back into operation.

“For fear of attacks on other medical organizations, I request your maximum vigilance, providing appropriate guidance to employees while refreshing risk-reducing behavior,” Ash wrote.

“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 added.

“I would ask you to continue to be updated on the guidelines provided to you by the professional bodies and to update us on any exceptional event,” he concluded.

Dr. Miki Dodkevitz, director of Hillel Yaffe Hospital, updated that the attack did not paralyze the hospital. The hospital identified the attack immediately and disconnected all external communication systems. The hospital has since been working with alternative computer systems and manual registration.

The National Cyber Directorate (NCD) has deployed staff and equipment to restore the hospital’s computer systems to full function.

Following initial conclusions from the investigation, the NCD issued a broad warning to the economy with the IDs of the attack as a defensive measure.