Newfoundland and Labrador must completely rebuild their attacked systems

Published on 12/15/2021 1:51 PM

The Irish healthcare system has been hit by a ransomware attack that experts have compared to that of Newfoundland and Labrador. (Photo: Canadian Press)

An Irish expert says that the fact that Newfoundland and Labrador must rebuild the systems “from scratch” affected by a cyberattack on October 30 offers new clues about the attack and its progression.

Brian Honan said in an interview on Wednesday that when victims of ransomware attacks have to completely rebuild their systems, it is usually because they did not obtain a decryption key from the hackers or because the key they did not obtain does not work.

David Diamond, executive director of Newfoundland and Labrador’s largest health authority, told reporters Tuesday that systems were being rebuilt “from scratch” using backups.

Honan, a cybersecurity consultant and former special advisor to Europol’s CyberCrime Center, said rebuilding systems from backups could also lead to data loss if backups are not up-to-date.

The hackers behind ransomware attacks often hold computer systems and their users hostage by blocking access to data using encryption and then charging a fee for a key to decrypt it.

Ireland’s healthcare system was hit in May by a ransomware attack that experts compared to that of Newfoundland and Labrador.


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