National Health Laboratory Service Confirms Cyber Attack

The National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) has announced that it suffered a security breach in its information technology, compromising its systems and infrastructure.

In a statement, the service stated the situation happened on Saturday AM and that it is working around the clock to resolve the issue.

“A preliminary analysis indicates that our Enterprise Resource Planning (Oracle) environment, Laboratory Information System (LIS) (TrakCare) database, and CDW are unaffected. Therefore, no patient data has been lost or compromised. “All patient data is safe,” stated Mzi Gcukumana, NHLS Communication, Marketing, and Public Relations officer.

According to Gcukumana, the investigation revealed that a ransomware virus was utilized to attack specific areas in the NHLS IT systems, leaving them inaccessible and preventing connectivity between the LIS and other databases and users.

“As a result, all of our systems remain unreachable both internally and externally, including to and from healthcare facilities, until the environment’s integrity is restored and secured.

“All users will be aware that the NHLS networked laboratory system is heavily reliant on these information technology systems that have been disrupted.”

The NHLS confirmed that components of its systems, including its backup server, were wiped, necessitating the reconstruction of the damaged parts.

“Unfortunately, this will take time, and investigations have not progressed far enough for us to provide a timeline for the restoration of our systems and full service.”

“All stakeholders and the public will be informed as soon as more information becomes available.”

Gcukumana stated that cyber attacks had continued.

“However, we were able to avoid more damage by adding an extra layer of security.

“We have also had to shut down systems to enable us to repair the damage.”

The NHLS stated that all of its laboratories are currently fully operational, accepting and processing clinical samples.

“Normally, laboratory reports are created automatically and forwarded to clinicians or made available via Web View. This incident has blocked that feature.

“However, all urgent results are communicated telephonically to requesting clinicians.”

The NHLS apologized for the inconvenience and said top management was working around the clock to resolve the situation.

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