Berhampur: The data system of the government-run City Hospital at Berhampur in Odisha’s Ganjam district was allegedly attacked by WannaCry ransomeware virus, as the crime branch of the state police decided to probe the attack.
The Crime Branch has taken over investigation of the case relating to the virus attack in Berhampur City Hospital for which a three-member team has been formed, Special Director General of Police (Crime Branch), B K Sharma said.
The team of cyber crime cell would take up the probe from Berhampur Town Police which had initially registered the case about the attack following an FIR lodged by Additional District Medical Officer (ADMO), Ganjam, Saroj Mishra.
As per the FIR filed by the ADMO, who is also in-charge of the City Hospital, the virus attack has encrypted the data of e-Aushadhi portal and Hospital Information Management System (HMIS).
A case has been registered on the basis of the ADMOs report under various sections of the IT Act and IPC at Berhampur Town police station, said Sub Divisional Police Officer (SDPO), Berhampur, Shantanu Das.
States IT minister Chandra Sarathi Behera told reporters in Bhubaneswar that a technical team was sent to the Berhampur City Hospital.
He said the IT department had already issued an advisory and asked all government departments as well as district collectors to remain alert. The advisory included guidelines for taking precautionary measures, he said.
The minister, who held a review meeting in Bhubaneswar after the cyber attack, said a joint team of IIIT, NIC and OCAC would also visit Berhampur City Hospital soon. The meeting was attended by experts from National Informatics Centre (NIC), OCAC, IIIT and senior State government officials.
He also held discussion on the virus attack with district collectors via videoconferencing, officials said.
Following the incident, two experts from Information and Technology (IT) Department visited the hospital to investigate into the powerful virus attack.
Meanwhile, another computer of Community Heath Center (CHC) at Purushottampur in Ganjam district was feared to have been hit by the WannaCry ransomware cyber attack. “We have sought a report from the concerned medical officer,”said a senior medical officer.
Though the IT expert has verified the computer system in City Hospital which was allegedly hacked on Tuesday, they declined to disclose the exact reason of data encryption. “The experts will submit their report to the department,” the ADMO said.
The alleged hacker had demanded payment of a ransom of USD 300 to restore the old files of the system, he said adding that the message threatened that the data in the system would be destroyed if there was undue delay in payment.
Though some medical programes of the state government like Niramaya were affected due to the cyber attack, medical officers claimed these would be restored soon. The system of the City Hospital is managed by the National Informatics Center (NIC), officials said.
The crime branch of Odisha police on Monday had issued an advisory for net users.
Over two lakh computers in at least 150 countries are said to have been infected, according to Europol, the European Unions law enforcement agency.
Recently similar cases of cyber attacks have been reported at UK where Hospitals across Britain cancelled appointments and turned away patients after a large-scale cyber attack by a suspected “ransomware” crippled major IT systems at the health facilities.
Speaking about the world wide web cyber attacks, TOI reports that Delhi’s Sir Ganga Ram Hospital too had suffered a similar breach in March last year. Three of their systems were infected with a malware called Cryptowall that encrypted all data on them, and asked for two bitcoins (which was worth around $825 at the time) to decrypt it and unlock the systems.
The hospital’s chief information officer Niranjan K Ramakrishnan told TOI that the situation was quickly controlled as the infected systems were isolated from the networks hosting the hospital and lab information systems.