The Life Healthcare Group announced that its southern African operation has been the victim of a targeted criminal attack on its IT systems.
The company said it acted immediately when it became aware of the incident and took its systems offline, in order to actively contain the attack.
Its hospitals and administrative offices switched over to backup manual processing systems and continued to function, albeit with some administrative delays. The security incident affected admissions systems, business processing systems and email servers. It said its patient care continues as normal.
Pieter Van der Westhuizen, Acting Group CEO, said: “Patient care remains our key priority. We are deeply disappointed and saddened that criminals would attack our facilities during such a time, when we are all working tirelessly and collectively to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we will not be distracted, and will continue to place our patients first.”
Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of Kaspersky, said: “The recently reported cyberattack on a healthcare institution in South Africa highlights, yet again, the harsh reality that cybercriminals across the globe are continually on the look-out for ways to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic for their own gain. Regrettably, during the past months we’ve seen many cyberattacks on hospitals and health institutions around the world, and we consider them to be nothing less than terrorist attacks. Given that this global pandemic will likely continue for some time, we expect cybercriminals to keep exploiting the Coronavirus situation and, alas, we cannot rule out other healthcare institutions being targeted in future.”