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Irish health service shuts down IT systems following ‘major ransomware attack’

LONDON (AP) – The Irish health service says it has shut down its IT systems after being targeted by a “major ransomware attack”.

The health service official said on Friday the move was a precaution and appointments for the coronavirus vaccination had not been affected.

The extent of the disruption to the health care system was unclear. Dublin’s Rotunda Maternity Hospital said it was canceling most routine appointments due to IT issues, calling the situation a “critical emergency”.

“There is a significant ransomware attack on HSE computer systems,” the Health Service Executive said on Twitter.

“We have taken the precaution of shutting down all of our computer systems in order to protect them from this attack and to allow us to fully assess the situation with our own security partners.”

In the United States, the country’s largest fuel pipeline was hit by a ransomware attack a week ago. The disruption of the Colonial pipeline caused long runs to gas stations due to distribution issues and purchasing panic, draining supplies to thousands of gas stations. It restarted operations on Wednesday.

The attack highlighted concerns about the vulnerability of critical infrastructure to hacking groups and criminals.

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