Cyberattack on top Indian hospital highlights security risk

NEW DELHI — The main hospital in India’s capital limped again to normalcy on Wednesday after a cyberattack crippled its operations for almost two weeks.

Online registration of sufferers resumed Tuesday after the hospital was capable of entry its server and recuperate lost knowledge. The hospital labored with federal authorities to revive the system and strengthen its defenses.

It’s unclear who carried out the Nov. 23 assault on the All India Institute of Medical Sciences or the place it originated. Hospital authorities didn’t reply to requests for remark.

The assault was adopted by a collection of failed makes an attempt to hack India’s top medical analysis group, the Indian Council of Medical Research. This raised additional issues concerning the vulnerability of India’s well being system to assaults at a time when the federal government is pushing hospitals to digitize their data.

More than 173,000 hospitals have registered with a federal program to digitize well being data since its launch in September 2021. The program assigns sufferers numbers which might be linked to medical data saved by hospitals on their very own servers or in cloud-based storage. Experts concern that hospitals could not have the experience to make sure digital security.

“Digitizing an entire health care system without really safeguarding it can pretty much kill an entire hospital. It suddenly stops functioning,” mentioned Srinivas Kodali, a researcher with the Free Software Movement of India.

That is what occurred to the hospital in New Delhi. Healthcare staff could not entry affected person studies as a result of the servers that retailer laboratory knowledge and affected person data had been hacked and corrupted.

The hospital usually treats 1000’s of individuals a day, a lot of whom journey from distant locations to entry inexpensive care. Always crowded, queues on the hospital grew even longer and extra chaotic.

“The entire system isn’t working because of the hack,” mentioned Deep Ranjan, who got here to New Delhi from northeastern Assam state. He mentioned he had spent 5 days ready in line and nonetheless has not seen a physician.

Sandeep Kumar, who accompanied his unwell father, mentioned the digital assault meant that appointments could not be booked on-line, and that docs might do little after they noticed sufferers as a result of they could not entry their medical historical past.

“We are digitizing (everything), but then there is an attack on the country’s most important medical institute,” he mentioned.

On Nov. 30, there have been repeated however in the end unsuccessful makes an attempt to breach the web site of the Indian Council of Medical Research, the Press Trust of India information company reported.

The assault on the hospital raised “serious questions about the cybersecurity of the country,” mentioned Ok.C. Venugopal, a member of Parliament from the principle opposition Congress occasion.

India drafted a proposed legislation governing knowledge privateness final month, however critics say it provides few safeguards to folks. It has not but been handed by Parliament.


Associated Press journalist Piyush Nagpal contributed to this report.


The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives help from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely chargeable for all content material.

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