Amid the Covid-19 crisis, Ireland health sector shuts down its IT systems due to ransomware attack: Is India prepared?

Ajay Ramola
GG News Bureau
Dehradun,  May 15th. The online Ransomware attack on the Ireland health sector that was forced to shut down its IT systems has raised several questions on India’s preparedness for such attacks that could cripple the already fragile health services of India.
According to the media reports Ireland’s health service operator shut down all its IT systems on Friday to protect them from a massive ransomware attack, crippling diagnostic services, disrupting COVID-19 testing and forcing hospitals to cancel many appointments.
It is being said that an international cybercrime gang was behind the attack, the ministers of the Ireland government came out with statements. Fortunately, Ireland’s COVID-19 vaccination programme was not directly affected, but the attack affected the IT systems serving all other local and national health provision, said the Irish government officials.
The reports have created flutters in India as well that is grappling with the second Covid 19 virus wave in the company pushing the already fragile health sector over the edge.
The possibility of Cybercriminals exploiting the Covid -19 pandemic situation could harm the IT systems especially the health sector apps and other related websites through ransomware and other harmful viruses and later demand money to release the website in return said, experts.
The cyber experts believe that if such online ransomware or any other virus attack hits India, with no mechanism to counter it in place it could cripple the system creating a problem for the people affected by the Covid-19 virus in the country.
The Mussoorie Congress unit President Gaurav Agarwal said that the signs of the failure of the online registration system have started surfacing as people below the age of 45 are unable to register for vaccination which hangs as soon as the page opens on the application.
The experts are of the view that could occur due to the high traffic on the web server, but the cyber-attack also cannot be ruled out.
Himanshu Chawla, CEO and founder of Infrared Techno cyber solutions who has provided cyber safety solutions to various government and non-governmental organizations said that instances of more than dozen government websites that were attacked by Cybercriminals were reported in the month of March 2020, when the Covid 19 pandemic began surfacing the country.
Himanshu Chawla said that it is extremely important for the managers of the application or websites used for such mass scale registrations to monitor and keep essential backups on regular basis.
The people registering on the Covid-19 applications and websites being run by the government should also ensure that they are logging in to the authentic website/ applications said, Chawla.
Ransomware infects computers with malicious software, often downloaded by clicking on seemingly harmless links in emails or other website pop-ups with offers that are difficult to refuse. Users are left locked out of their systems, with the demand that a ransom be paid to restore computer functions said Cyber experts.

“Internet users should stay away from unknown or suspicious links that invite people to log in through lucrative offers and after seeking their personal information said, Himanshu Chawla.
The government websites also need an upgrade as most of these websites including www.uttarainformation.gov.in of Uttarakhand government do not have Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate installed on their website due to which it becomes vulnerable to cyber-attack.

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