Additional protection put in place by SDHB

Mike Collins
Mike Collins

The Southern District Health Board has put additional security measures in place, as the Waikato DHB battles a cyber attack which has paralysed its IT system.

On Tuesday, the Waikato DHB’s IT system was hit by a ransomware virus which had shut down computers at several sites.

Staff worked overnight to try to fix the problem, but almost 30 operations due to take place yesterday and all outpatient clinics at outlying rural hospitals were scrapped

SDHB people, culture and digital executive director Mike Collins said the fate which had befallen Waikato had prompted additional security measures and cyber-traffic-management systems to be implemented at Southern.

"The organisation already has protection in place, and has further strengthened existing cybersecurity systems and tools.

"We have been making staff aware of the risks associated with cyber attacks for some time, and have again reminded staff about this since the event at WDHB."

Most large organisations, including the SDHB, regularly receive threats via the internet or within emails.

Mr Collins said the SDHB IT team had noticed an increase in the number of attacks over the past seven days.

"We have systems in place and supporting tools to manage these threats and continually monitor our environment," he said.

"It is a constant battle and there is a need for ongoing vigilance."

The SDHB, which is working on an updated digital strategy, already placed a high value on the security and integrity of digital information as the board held the personal details and medical records of many patients, Mr Collins said.

"The latest events reinforce the critical importance of planning for cybersecurity attacks and the forward planning required should an event take place."

mike.houlahan@odt.co.nz

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