Cyberattack on top Indian hospital highlights security risk

Dec 7, 2022, 7:16 AM | Updated: 7:19 am
Patients and their attendants squat outside the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) hos...

Patients and their attendants squat outside the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) hospital in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022. The leading medical institute in India's capital limped back to normality on Wednesday after a cyberattack crippled its operations for nearly two weeks. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

(AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

NEW DELHI (AP) — The leading hospital in India’s capital limped back to normalcy on Wednesday after a cyberattack crippled its operations for nearly two weeks.

Online registration of patients resumed Tuesday after the hospital was able to access its server and recover lost data. The hospital worked with federal authorities to restore the system and strengthen its defenses.

It’s unclear who conducted the Nov. 23 attack on the All India Institute of Medical Sciences or where it originated. Hospital authorities didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The attack was followed by a series of failed attempts to hack India’s top medical research organization, the Indian Council of Medical Research. This raised further concerns about the vulnerability of India’s health system to attacks at a time when the government is pushing hospitals to digitize their records.

More than 173,000 hospitals have registered with a federal program to digitize health records since its launch in September 2021. The program assigns patients numbers that are linked to medical information stored by hospitals on their own servers or in cloud-based storage. Experts fear that hospitals may not have the expertise to ensure digital security.

“Digitizing an entire health care system without really safeguarding it can pretty much kill an entire hospital. It suddenly stops functioning,” said Srinivas Kodali, a researcher with the Free Software Movement of India.

That is what happened to the hospital in New Delhi. Healthcare workers couldn’t access patient reports because the servers that store laboratory data and patient records had been hacked and corrupted.

The hospital normally treats thousands of people a day, many of whom travel from distant places to access affordable care. Always crowded, queues at the hospital grew even longer and more chaotic.

“The entire system isn’t working because of the hack,” said Deep Ranjan, who came to New Delhi from northeastern Assam state. He said he had spent five days waiting in line and still has not seen a doctor.

Sandeep Kumar, who accompanied his ill father, said the digital attack meant that appointments couldn’t be booked online, and that doctors could do little when they saw patients because they couldn’t access their medical history.

“We are digitizing (everything), but then there is an attack on the country’s most important medical institute,” he said.

On Nov. 30, there were repeated but ultimately unsuccessful attempts to breach the website of the Indian Council of Medical Research, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

The attack on the hospital raised “serious questions about the cybersecurity of the country,” said K.C. Venugopal, a member of Parliament from the main opposition Congress party.

India drafted a proposed law governing data privacy last month, but critics say it offers few safeguards to people. It has not yet been passed by Parliament.

___

Associated Press journalist Piyush Nagpal contributed to this report.

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Jorge Carballo, one of the top administrators at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, is s...
Associated Press

Hurricane deaths at nursing home: accident or manslaughter?

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla (AP) — A Florida nursing home administrator charged with causing the overheating deaths of nine patients after Hurricane Irma in 2017 went on trial Monday, with a prosecutor calling him a “captain who abandoned ship” while his attorney said he’s a “scapegoat” for failures of the electric company to restore power. Prosecutor […]
13 hours ago
FILE - This Oct. 3, 2012 file photo shows the Jim Beam visitors center at its central distillery in...
Associated Press

Kentucky Bourbon Trail attendance reaches record heights

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Bourbon tourism reached new heights last year in Kentucky, where visitors flocked to large and small distilleries as the whiskey-making attractions shook off any pandemic-era hangover. Attendance at distilleries along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail surpassed 2 million in 2022 for the first time ever, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association announced. Venerable bourbon […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

AMC to charge more for good seats in movie theaters

NEW YORK (AP) — Middle seats at many U.S. movie theaters just got more expensive. AMC Theaters, the nation’s largest movie theater chain, on Monday unveiled a new pricing scheme in which seat location determines how much your movie ticket costs. Seats in the middle of the auditorium will cost a dollar or two more, […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Legal sizes for lobsters could change to protect population

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The rules about the minimum and maximum sizes of lobsters that can be trapped off New England could soon become stricter, potentially bringing big changes to one of the most valuable seafood industries in the country. Fishers are required to measure lobsters from eyes to tail and must throw back the […]
13 hours ago
FILE - Facebook's Meta logo sign is seen at the company headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. on Oct. ...
Associated Press

Meta to buy VR startup Within after favorable court ruling

A federal judge has sided with Facebook parent Meta and cleared the way for the company to buy virtual reality startup Within Unlimited, the maker of the popular fitness app Supernatural. Federal antitrust regulators had sought to block the acquisition on the grounds that it would hurt competition in the emerging virtual reality market. But […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Russia’s revenue falls sharply in January from year earlier

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s finance ministry said Monday that budget revenue in January was 35% lower compared with the same month in 2022, the last month before Russia sent troops into Ukraine. The ministry also said the budget deficit for January was 1.77 trillion rubles ($23.9 billion), about 60% of the shortfall that had been […]
13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Fiesta Bowl Foundation

Celebrate 50 years of Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade magic!

Since its first production in the early 1970s, the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe has been a staple of Valley traditions, bringing family fun and excitement to downtown Phoenix.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
Cyberattack on top Indian hospital highlights security risk