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Waikato DHB boosts desktop security after cyber attack

Waikato DHB boosts desktop security after cyber attack

Work to restore the affected systems will continue over the coming weeks.

Waikato Hospital

Waikato Hospital

Credit: Waikato Hospital

Waikato District Health Board (DHB) has implemented monitoring systems for its workstations to provide heightened security at a desktop level after it was hit by a cyber attack last month that impacted its IT systems.  

In May, Waikato DHB revealed it had engaged external assistance to help it address a cyber security incident affecting its information services environment.  

Waikato DHB said in a social media update posted on the morning of 18 May that it had experienced a full outage of its information services, with the issue affecting clinical services across its hospitals, including Waikato, Thames, Tokoroa, Te Kuiti and Taumarunui, to varying degrees.   

Now, roughly two weeks later, Waikato DHB CEO Kevin Snee has said that the organisation has made significant process towards restoring its technical systems in the face of the recent cyber attack, with a fuller understanding of what happened, and with steps taken to safeguard against it happening again. 

“Alongside the work to resolve the attack itself we have also continued work in the background to start reinstating our key digital systems which will bring us much closer to routine operations,” Snee said. 

“Our current plan would see our hospitals' digital capability improved by the end of next week. Although there will still be some way to go, this would be a big step on from the past weeks,” he added. 

Waikato DHB has several hundred servers, many major network sites, many thousands of workstations and numerous mobile devices and specialist medical equipment. 

According to Snee, work to restore the affected systems will continue over the coming weeks, allowing Waikato DHB to progressively stand its services back up. 

“Over the last four days we have been able to restore just over half of our servers to a point that we have confidence that they are not compromised and have integrity to be put back into service,” he said.  

“Alongside this we have implemented monitoring systems for our workstations that provide heightened security at a desktop level and have restored about 20 per cent of our workstation network into operation. 

“To provide assurance that the servers, networks and desktops are secure we’ve worked closely with international specialist services to systematically test and secure all items before they are reinstated,” he added. 

However, Snee cautioned that, while services will start moving closer to the usual standard, it will be some time before Waikato DHB is fully functioning again. 


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