What We Can Learn from the Ireland Health Service Ransomware Attack


In May of 2021, Ireland’s Health Service Executive, which handles healthcare and social services to the Emerald Isle’s nearly five million residents, was the target of a massive ransomware attack. Even as businesses and municipalities from all over the globe have been dealing with this plight, we mention this because of the aftereffects of this situation. Today, we take a look at the situation and what can be learned from it. 

The Irish HSE Ransomware Attack

On May 14, 2021, the HSE was targeted by a hacking collective known as the Conti Ransomware Gang. The health service then received the instructions that the perpetrators would immediately release the patients’ data to the public unless they paid the ransom of $20 million in bitcoin. After a few days of deliberation, the government agency agreed to pay the sum (a practice that those of us at NuTech Services do not recommend). In turn, they got the decryption key. 

Sad to say, this is not where this situation ended.

Data Restoration is Problematic

With the working decryption key in hand, and a nation of people that depend on their service, the HSE went ahead and started the restoration process. Turns out, it is difficult. HSE is still having problems restoring data systems to their previous state and it has led to bottlenecks inside the nation’s healthcare system. 

The reason is that restoring data, especially on a scale such as this one, is an arduous task, and with new protocols and protections being implemented by HSE administrators to help avoid this type of problem in the future, it is taking much longer than expected. This means costs rise and people don’t get the care they need. As of this writing, it remains a real problem for the people of Ireland. 

What Your Business Can Take Away From the HSE Ransomware

No matter what your business is, getting hit with ransomware is a pretty scary situation. One thing that every company or organization can take away from this situation is the need for comprehensive training for phishing and other scams to minimize the chances of getting ransomware through typical means. You also should be monitoring your network to ensure that if something were to make it past your defenses that more can be done to thwart a major catastrophe like ransomware. You should also have a comprehensive backup in place to help protect the continuity of your business.

At NuTech Services, we can help you identify your organization’s cybersecurity weaknesses and help you put in policies and technology that will help you keep ransomware off your network and be ready for any type of problem should it arise. Reach out to us at 810.230.9455 today to talk to one of our skilled consultants.