A cyberattack on the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador has caused considerable disruption to healthcare professionals and hospitals.
On October 30th, the attack occurred, leading regional health systems to close their networks and cancel tens of thousands of medical appointments. The Labrador-Grenfell Regional Health Authority, Central Health, Eastern Health, Western Health, and the Labrador-Grenfell Regional Health Authority were all affected by the outage.
The IT breakdown also disrupted communications in the region, with residents having difficulty calling health care centers or 911.
Yesterday, the Department of Health & Community Services confirmed that with the support of the managed service provider Bell Aliant, they had begun an inquiry into the system’s failure.
Many impacted health clinics have resorted to employing pen and paper since emails aren’t working, and physicians can’t register new patients or upload and view medical results on the database.
While not all hospitals in the province have IT failures, practically all of them experience some kind of inconvenience. Vaccinations, emergency treatment, and the admittance of cases that cannot be denied are the only things that continue to function regularly.
While the Canadian government and healthcare systems have not divulged the nature of the intrusion, sources have confirmed that it is ransomware.
If this proves to be a ransomware operation, there’s a significant likelihood that data, and maybe medical information, was stolen. The government sources said that it could take a couple of days for things to get back to normal.
Several ransomware attacks have previously targeted Canada’s public agencies. In October 2020, RansomExx attacked Montreal’s STM public transportation system, while in December 2020, Vancouver’s Metro operator TransLink had serious IT issues due to an Egregor attack.
TransLink conducted its inquiry a month later and determined that Russian hackers had obtained consumer information.