Cyber attack on AIIMs not to be seen as an isolated case: Expert

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By: Joymala Bagchi
Updated: 28 November, 2022 10:41 pm IST
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Even as reports of hackers demanding ransom in cryptocurrency from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Delhi emerged, cyber security experts have called this attack on the institute’s servers and database the biggest in Indian history.

The attack by cyber criminals exposed how vulnerable our systems are, even at the best of our institutes. The attack crippled AIIM’s routine health services which it provides to tens of thousands of patients, for days.

Speaking to The New Indian cyber expert Pawan Duggal said, “This cyber attack on AIIMS is the biggest in the history of independent India. It must not be seen as a small isolated incident. It is an attack on Indian cyber security and integrity. Everything depends on what backs AIIMS cyber system.”

He said that AIIMs holds the most critical information that can be exploited by cyber criminals. “It’s after-all the health data not only of crores of Indians but also of bureaucrats, of politicians of important people.This attack shows how India needs to wake up from its deep slumber as far cyber security is concern because as of now India has got nothing much substantial on cyber security,” he said.

Meanwhile, Delhi Police sources have dismissed reports of ransom demand as false.  “No ransom demand as being quoted by certain sections of the media, has been brought to notice by AIIMS authorities,” said sources in Delhi Police

A statement by AIIMS which The New Indian has access read: “The data restoration and server cleaning is in progress and is taking some time due to the volume of data and large number of servers for the hospital services. Measures are being taken for cyber security.”

All hospital services, including outpatient, in-patient, laboratories, etc continue to run on manual mode.

While speaking to The New Indian AIIMS administration stated, “We are investigating the matter to see what has exactly taken place. We are hopeful to find out things soon.”

However AIIMS has not shared the amount demanded by the hackers.

Reportedly the server of AIIMS remained out of function close for a week.

The problems faced by the users while they were logging in includes appointments and registration at outpatient departments (OPD), billing at inpatient departments (IPD), laboratory report generation, and smart lab.

The patient’s database may have already been compromised.

“India needs to take this as a wakeup call, act together and quickly come up with new approaches on how to inculcate cyber resilience,” says the expert.

Known as one of the apex Medical facilities of the country AIIMS is governed by the AIIMS Act, 1956 and as an institute and is operated autonomously under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

 

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