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HSE CEO Paul Reid said "a trail of disruption that was left behind" by hackers.
HSE CEO Paul Reid said "a trail of disruption that was left behind" by hackers.
Image: Leon Farrell/RollingNews.ie

HSE may have to replace 30,000 laptops as a result of cyber attack

HSE officials said 33% of servers have now been decrypted and 58% of end user devices are now connected.
Jun 10th 2021, 9:54 PM 47,126 71

THE HSE MAY have to replace as many as 30,000 laptops as it works to restore systems impacted by the recent cyber attack.

Speaking at today’s HSE briefing, CEO Paul Reid said a “significant proportion” of the 80,000 user laptops and access points are being replaced.

“In the initial phases we felt it could be up to about 30,000 laptops [to replace]. We’re screening more of those as we progress to get into a ‘stage green’ safer level, so we don’t believe it may be that scale just now but it could be in that scale,” he said.

“This is horrendous for our staff and it’s extremely difficult for many people coming to our services, experiencing delays,” Reid said.

In an update today on progress restoring systems, HSE officials said 33% of servers have now been decrypted and 58% of end user devices are now connected, which is up 7,713 from last week.

Significant progress has been made in restoring patient management services, with 48 sites now having functioning applications while two have limited function and two sites – St Luke’s Hospital and Royal Victoria Eye and Ear hospital – remain without function.

There has also been progress with the restoration of diagnostic imaging such as x-rays, with 38 sites now having fully functioning solutions available, while nine have functioning applications in place, six have a limited use of the application and two remain without function.

Challenges continue in laboratories though 28 are now functioning. The HSE said engagement with private providers to support service provision continues.

All email domains, with the exception of those in the north east and north west, are flowing. However there is a significant variation in the return of email across the country. Remote connectivity is now available which is enabling staff to work remotely again.

Reid said that while it is taking time, progress has been made. 

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“If you think of the scale of what we have to restore; 2,000 systems, 5,000 national servers, multiple systems that integrate across those servers and access users of between 80,000 and 120,000 users,” he said.

“So it’s combination of having to restore national systems and every one of those national systems has to go through a verification process via international ICT providers who are working with us. Every one of those national systems, every one of those 5,000 servers has to go through a renewal process before they’re put back on the network.”

Reid said: “If you talk to, as I’ve done, anybody in the UK, whether it’s Talk Talk, or National Health Service, or various peoples who have been subject to cyber attacks, it’s a trail of disruption that was left behind in terms of restoration, and that’s exactly what we’ve been experiencing.”

The HSE chief said there is now a better understanding of how this may have occurred and he is awaiting a final report from the international agency that has been working with the HSE.

He said the HSE board is also finalising details of an independent report which will be commissioned.

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Michelle Hennessy

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