PHOTO/STOCK.ADOBE.COM

Server’s security paramount

ELI HILL
eli.hill@age.co.nz

A global cyber security attack has forced the websites of four Wairarapa medical practices to be taken down after a Tu Ora Compass Health server fell victim to a hacker.

Tu Ora Compass Health’s website and the websites of Kuripuni, Greytown, Featherston, and Carterton medical centres cannot be accessed.

Tu Ora Compass Health does not believe patient data has been compromised.

Websites for Masterton Medical Centre and Whaiora Medical Centre are still operating. Martinborough Health Services does not have a website.

The affected websites were defaced on August 5 as part of a series of attacks across the world by a hacker group calling themselves ‘Vanda the God’.

The attack also hit sites in the United States, Great Britain and South America, according to a brag list on Vanda the God’s Twitter account.

A generic anti-authoritarian message was left on all of the sites: “Join the revolution. Tell your government to f*** off”, along with a raised middle finger, and a person wearing a mask associated with the hacker group Anonymous.

Most of the sites targeted were government sites.

Tu Ora Compass Health acting chief executive Justine Thorpe said the incident highlighted issues of cyber security that everyone needed to be aware of.

“Shortly after we became aware of the incident on August 5, we contained it by taking the compromised server offline.

“This stopped all access to any applications and data on that server and elsewhere within our network.

“We are also working with our technology providers to investigate the extent of the intrusion. Based on the information available at this time, we have no indication that patient information or any individuals’ email addresses, account user names, or passwords have been compromised.”

Tu Ora has been working with technology and cyber security providers.

Thorpe said it would continue to keep stakeholders – including GP practices – informed of what has happened.

As a result of taking the affected server offline, Tu Ora Compass’ website and those of 20 affiliated GP practices around the country cannot be accessed.

In the interim, people can access information about GP practices through healthpoint.co.nz.

“As a custodian of patient data, we treat incidents like this very seriously and are taking all actions to ensure our server is secure. However, we would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused by taking this server offline,” Thorpe said.

“We are currently working through the process of restoring access to this server and ensuring all our systems are as secure as possible.”