Hackers strike at Life Healthcare, extent of data breach yet to be assessed

09 June 2020 - 08:07 By TimesLIVE
Life Healthcare's IT systems have been targeted by cybercriminals.
Life Healthcare's IT systems have been targeted by cybercriminals.
Image: 123RF/welcomia

Admissions systems, business processing systems and e-mail servers have been taken offline by the Life Healthcare Group, which confirmed on Tuesday that its southern African operation has been the victim of a targeted criminal attack on its IT systems.

“We acted immediately on becoming aware of the incident and took our systems offline, in order to actively contain the attack,” the group said.

“The extent to which sensitive data has been compromised is yet to be ascertained, as we are still in the process of investigating.”

External cyber security experts and forensic teams have been brought on board to advise and supplement its internal teams and capacity, said Life Healthcare. “We have alerted the relevant authorities and investigations are under way.”

Patient care has not been impacted, the group emphasised.

Its hospitals and administrative offices have switched over to backup manual processing systems and continue to function, “albeit and regrettably, with some administrative delays”.

“The security incident has affected admissions systems, business processing systems and e-mail servers. We immediately took these offline as a precautionary measure to contain the attack, conduct our investigations and, where necessary, commence remediation.”

Pieter van der Westhuizen, acting group CEO, said: “We are deeply disappointed and saddened that criminals would attack our facilities during such a time, when we are all working tirelessly and collectively to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. However, we will not be distracted, and will continue to place our patients first.”

“Our investigations continue and we are working around the clock to restore the affected systems.”


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