After a cyber-attack crashed the server-based system in All India Institute Of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Delhi, hackers have demanded Rs 200 crore to restore systems. It is feared that data of around 3-4 crore patients could have been compromised due to the breach detected on Wednesday morning.
Systems affected by cyber attack
As the AIIMS in Delhi continues to work in manual mode for a week, investigators suspect a terror angle and foreign conspiracy behind the cyber-attack on the country’s premier medical institution.
Hackers have allegedly demanded around Rs 200 cr in cryptocurrency from AIIMS-Delhi as its server remains out of order for sixth consecutive day; patient care services in emergency, outpatient, inpatient, laboratory wings being managed manually: Sources
— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) November 28, 2022
From online appointments to the billing and sharing of reports with patients and between departments, almost all services are online at the institute, thus affected. The sources said that patient care services in emergency, outpatient, inpatient, and laboratory wings are being managed manually as the server remained down.
AIIMS authorities have deployed additional staff to run the diagnostics, labs and OPD services. Registers are being used for entries, which is why the movement of documents — such as lab reports and receipts or confirmations — is taking time. Many of the staff are working overtime.
AIIMS has suspended two system analysts after being served show-cause notices for alleged dereliction of duty.
FIR lodged, probe underway
Patient data theft is at the nub of the case. A case of extortion and cyber terrorism was registered by the Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations (IFSO) unit of the Delhi Police on November 25.
The FIR includes sections dealing with extortion and cyber-terrorism. The extortion angle sparked theories that it was a ransomware attack.
Every year, around 38 lakh patients get treated at AIIMS, and all of the data is lost, for now, sources said. This means details of crores of patients, including top political leaders, bureaucrats and judges.
Top intelligence agencies and National Investigation Agency officials have also visited AIIMS and are working on the case. The National Informatics Centre and the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team are trying to restore the data.
Thorough cleansing at AIIMS
So far, of the 5,000-odd computers at AIIMS, around 2,000 have been thoroughly scanned using anti-virus and anti-malware software. Thirty of 50 servers have been checked and this activity is ongoing 24×7.
Medical Superintendent Dr DK Sharma has said the patient numbers have gone up since the server went down — almost 12,000 patients a day now – as people are not required to take an online appointment now.
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“The data restoration and server cleaning [are] taking some time due to the volume of data and a large number of servers for the hospital services. Measures are being taken for cyber security,” said AIIMS in a statement on Monday.
Internet services will likely remain suspended as the investigation agencies want a thorough cleanse. On Monday, news agency PTI reported, quoting a source: “The full sanitisation of the network is likely to continue for five more days. After that, e-hospital services can be rolled out in a phased manner.”
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