Irish concern ransomware attackers demand ransom, but Prime Minister refuses to pay

Ransom has now been demanded in the ransomware attack on Ireland’s public health service, but Ireland says it has no plans to pay it. The size of the ransom is not known.

That position has been taken by Irish Prime Minister Michéal Martin, Reuters writes. “We are very clear: we are not going to pay a ransom.” Furthermore, the Director General of the Irish Health Service Executive on the radio know that it is the Conti ransomware and reported to Reuters that a zero-day vulnerability has been exploited. Ossian Smyth, Irish Secretary of State eGovernmentdescribes it as ‘possibly the most significant cyber attack on the Irish state’.

The ransomware attack took place on Friday morning. With the impact of the central IT system of Irish healthcare, healthcare is facing problems across the country. The systems have been taken offline as a precaution and as a result most Irish health services are currently inactive. If the problems are not resolved on Monday, appointments must be canceled, but because the system is down, it is not even known who should be canceled.

The health service is working with the national cybersecurity team and security experts to stop the attack. The Health Service Executive thinks the hackers entered through the patient registry system.

It is currently not possible to make new appointments for corona testing, which means that people who may have the virus will have to go to a walk-in testing location on their own initiative. However, these are available in just over half of the 26 counties in Ireland. The portal for booking a vaccine appointment was temporarily offline, but is now working again.